Past Exhibition

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The History of EMS in America

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Today we often take ambulances and emergency medical services for granted: a lifesaving ride is only a phone call away. This was not always the case. The NCHS’s past exhibition, The History of EMS in America, featuring the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps, illustrated the history and development of EMS in America from the 18th century to the present. Framed within bold moments in history, the exhibition focused on the catalysts of the evolution of EMS, connecting each development to emerging technologies, new ideas, changing attitudes, and corresponding events.

Originally established as a necessary tool in times of war, the ambulance and all related emergency services have advanced over the centuries from simply moving wounded soldiers to providing mobile and immediate medical care to anyone in need. The objects, photographs, and informational panels in this exhibition detailed the shift in transportation from crude wooden wagons to highly equipped automobiles. It also highlighted the progression of personnel from untrained drivers and war doctors to physicians and specially trained civilian volunteers.

The exhibition highlighted New Castle’s own Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CVAC), which has operated for over 80 years as a helping hand to the local community. The exhibition connected a broader national history to the personal story of New Castle, told through paraphernalia and the words of former and current CVAC volunteers.