CDHCS Collections

The Center for Dental History and Craniofacial Study (CDHCS) maintains four collections, its mission being to support the study of dental history, craniofacial biology and evolution.

A.W. Ward Museum of Dentistry Collection

The Ward Museum was founded in 1974 in honor of Abraham Wesley Ward, a pioneer of surgical periodontics and a 1902 graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The museum preserves historical and modern artifacts and documents related to the dental profession, including dental furniture, equipment, instruments, products, photographs, films and documents from the mid-1700s to recent times. Donated items are catalogued, with description and donor information maintained in an EmbARK database. (See the CDHCS Accession and Deaccession of Donations web page for in-kind donation guidelines.)

To promote community outreach, CDHCS maintains an 1870s-era dentist office at the Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia, California, and has loaned circa-1900 dental operatory pieces for the San Mateo County Historical Association's Woodside Store in Woodside, California.

Prior to the school's move to Fifth Street, all the Ward artifacts were photographed. Some artifacts are now viewable via the Virtual Dental Museum website.

Dental students are encouraged to volunteer in helping the curator catalog, inventory and arrange the Ward Museum collection.

Spencer R. Atkinson Library of Applied Anatomy Collection (Atkinson Collection)

This invaluable, world-renowned research and teaching resource consists of more than 1,500 human skulls collected by orthodontist Spencer R. Atkinson, primarily from autopsies and biological warehouses. Read more ›

College of Physicians and Surgeons Historical Society Collection

The College of Physicians and Surgeons Historical Society collection houses historical documents and artifacts from "P&S" (forerunner of the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry). This collection includes  sets of CHIPS yearbook volumes and Contact Point issues, photographs, lecture notes, grade cards and exams, diplomas, licenses, commencement programs, postgraduate correspondence and alumni events, dating from the late 1800s onwards.

Alumni are urged to contribute towards the Center's goal of maintaining a "comprehensive" chronicle of P&S and its students by donating photos and documents from their dental school days. Copies of these items are also accepted, or, as an alternative to donation, the Center will return to its owners any documents or photos loaned to us for scanning. As a repository for the school's history, this archive is accessible by appointment to historians, donors, alumni and the families of alumni. The curator is available to respond to specific inquiries by phone or email.

P&S Comparative Anatomy Collection

The P&S Comparative Anatomy collection features a variety of vertebrate skulls including fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Launched in 1923, the Comparative Dental Anatomy Museum grew over the years as students, faculty and alums donated a variety of interesting and diverse specimens. These skulls have served as the basis for important exhibits, research projects and educational outreach programs on dental anatomy, function and evolution.

In hands-on Selectives taught at CDHCS, skulls from this collection are used to demonstrate the evolutionary patterns found among vertebrates in their tooth structure, attachment, replacement and cusp composition. The amazing diversity in tooth number and shape, and in cusp wear pattern and jaw mechanics are illustrated and discussed in relation to dietary adaptation. In addition, students investigate specimens from the Order Primates with special emphasis placed on those cranial and dental similarities and differences recognizable among the various species, and, especially, between apes and humans.

James A. Campbell Jr. Dental Radiology Collection

Due to space restrictions in the new building the Campbell Collection has been transferred to the Museum of Radiology and Medical Physics at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.


Dr. Dorothy Dechant, Curator
Center for Dental History and Craniofacial Study
University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
155 Fifth Street, Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103