In preparation for over 1,300 antique medical instruments, I met with representatives of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) to see where the items will be displayed at the Richard H. Dean Research Building downtown. Dr. Tony Atala, WFIRM director, acquired the instruments from Dr. John Monroe, a retired ob/gyn, who has accumulated the massive collection over the last 50 to 60 years.
Karen Richardson, senior communications manager for WFIRM, picked me up in her two-seater car on a warm Thursday afternoon in October and took us to the building where Major General (ret) Dr. George Weightman, WFIRM chief operating officer, toured us around the second floor where new laboratory space, offices and a common area is being created. WFIRM currently occupies the fourth floor of the Dean Research Building, about 25,000 square feet of research space. The second floor will give the institute 10,000 more square feet of lab space. The physiology, chemistry and half of the biomaterials sections will move to the second floor. Also on the second floor is a huge commons area for scientists to collaborate, relax and hold conferences with multiple flat-screen TVs, two separate audio systems, a coffee bar, mailroom and small kitchen.
With the instruments will come five display cases that will be placed in the hallway area of the second floor, near the elevators. We discussed rotating pieces and a possible video of Dr. Monroe talking about the collection. Dr. Monroe will be invited to the grand opening of the new space in early Feburary 2011.
Next up is a trip to the Development and Alumni Affairs office to help John Gillon, senior director of charitable planning, sort through the pieces for appraisal.