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The Infamous Hand Museum of Dallas, Texas – Kent French

The Infamous Hand Museum of Dallas, Texas

by: Kent French

In my quest to find the unique and interesting places that cities that we land in have to offer, nothing could have prepared me for this: the Adrian E. Flatt, M.D., Hand Museum at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

When this was recommended to me, I expected Hollywood-esque prosthetics that would be more at home on a movie set, but this museum turned out to be much more fascinating than I expected.

Upon arrival, Luke Athens took me around the exhibit and explained the history behind the museum and the bronze (not prosthetic!) hand casts. This collection was started by the world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Adrian Flatt, to better operate on the hands of children born with deformities in the 1950s.

These casts became invaluable in his surgical process and helped the late Dr. Flatt to become one of the preeminent hand surgeons in the world.

Dr. Flatt began to cast the hands of his fellow surgeons to try and capture any hand qualities that could make one person a better surgeon after all. Once he proved that there was no such thing as “surgeon” hands, he looked beyond his colleagues and dived into collecting casts of people from around the world. test

"This museum turned out to be much more fascinating than I expected."

Celebrities, politicians, writers, cartoonists, athletes, presidents… The list goes on and on.

These are what make up this remarkable collection that’s grown far more than Dr. Flatt ever intended it to. These are hands that ruled nations, drew some of the memorable cartoons, penned world-famous children’s books, grasped tightly onto Academy Awards, held their own in the wrestling ring, and smashed home runs in the World Series.

What started as something informational and lifechanging for 1950s medicine become an exceptional, detailed collection of famous hands from all over the world. Dr. Flatt even had to improvise in getting some oh his more noteworthy casts. For example, Andre the Giant’s casts had to be done in stetson boxes because of their record-breaking size.

Overall, this museum was an unexpected surprise. There are so many amazing, famous hands in this museum that put you into the history that we know so much about.

Seeing Andre the Giant’s hands brought a whole new meaning to his nickname. Knowing that Abraham Lincoln used those hands to shake the hand of over 3,000 constituents really gave me a sense of awe for both Dr. Flatt and for the museum itself.

The Adrian E. Flatt, M.D., Hand Museum at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas is a great exhibit that brings any visitor much closer to so many notable characters in history.

If you find yourself in Dallas and you want to see something off the beaten path, take a drive over to this museum to put hands to faces. You’ll be surprised at what you learn about the famous names you’ve been hearing all your life.

Until next time, friends!

KF