The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry

Museum
7/14 - 12/8

Ongoing exhibits:

Hands-on displays for kids explore teeth and dental history, while other exhibits detail bioengineering and forensic dentistry.
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Editorial Review

From the life-size model of an inverted, sequined circus performer grasping a weight with her teeth, to the exhibit that once and for all debunks the story of George Washington's "wooden" dentures (they were ivory, among other materials), Baltimore's bright, modern dental museum strikes the tone you'd wish from your favorite dentist: friendly, fun, a little corny, very competent. The organizers eschewed the scary, rotting-tooth visuals of years past. Instead, there's advertising memorabilia, historic instruments and such odd pop-cultural items as Sugar Ray Leonard's mouthpiece and Mrs. Tom Thumb's dentures. And the gift shop has everything from tooth-covered boxer shorts to a whole range of tooth fairy accessories.

Touring with Kids?
This place is a hoot, much more fun than it has any right to be. From the opening display — a life-size model of an inverted, sequined circus performer grasping a weight with her teeth — to the exhibit that once and for all debunks the story of George Washington's "wooden" teeth (they had ivory, among other materials), this dental museum strikes the tone you'd hope your favorite dentist would have: friendly, fun, a little corny perhaps but very competent. It may not be worth a special trip — except for the most dental-philic (or -phobic) — but it's a nice stop before an Orioles game or during a day of "Balmer" sightseeing.

The organizers seem aware of the reputation most dentists have, especially among children, and so have eschewed the scary, rotting tooth visuals of years past. Instead, there's lots of advertising memorabilia, historic instruments and such odd pop-cultural items as Sugar Ray Leonard's mouthpiece and Mrs. Tom Thumb's dentures. One TV screen shows dentist-related Charlie Chaplin and Little Rascals shorts. Another, surrounded by the cutest little plastic molar-shaped stools you've ever seen, shows old public service announcements. (The video on a little girl's first trip to the dentist is fairly disappointing, though.) The gift shop has everything from tooth-covered boxer shorts to a whole range of tooth fairy accessories (earrings, necklace, little box for collecting baby teeth).
– by John Kelly and Craig Stoltz

Words to the wise: Visit on a Sunday and you'll have this place to yourself — unless there's a dentists' convention in town.

Food: Choices are limited nearby, but the museum is just a five-minute drive from the amenity-rich Inner Harbor.