Small museums are loaded with local history. On Juneteenth, I visited such a museum and historic site, The Dr. James Still Historic Office Site.
Who was Dr. James Still?
Dr. James Still was the son of Levin and Charity Still. Both were once enslaved in Maryland. Levin purchased his freedom and Charity escaped to freedom with two of her young children.
James grew up in Shamong Township, New Jersey. He became fascinated with medicine when a physician came to his home to vaccinate him and his siblings.
James had little formal education. He was mainly self-taught. Knowing he would not be able to go to medical school or find a doctor to study under, James purchased science and nature books and studied on his own.
He understood the healing power of herbs and began distilling medicine from them. People purchased his medicines and would sometimes wait on long lines to get them.
Dr. Still soon became known as “The Black Doctor of the Pines.”
The Dr. James Still Historic Office Site is located in Medford, New Jersey. It has two exhibit rooms. One room celebrates the life of Dr. Still. It includes replicas of things he would have had in his office or used in his practice.
The second exhibit room is devoted to the Underground Railroad. Dr. Still’s brother, William, was a conductor and station master on the Underground Railroad. William assisted many freedom seekers. He also helped Harriet Tubman during her trips back and forth to lead people to freedom.
Volunteers and descendants of the Still family staff the museum. If you’re lucky you will hear the story of the Still family from a Still progeny.
The Dr. James Still Historic Office Site & Visitor’s Center has a walking trail for nature lovers like Dr. Still.
The museum is open the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month from 11:30am – 4:00pm.
Location: 210 Medford-Mt. Holly Road, Medford, New Jersey 08055.