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Crawford W. Long Museum

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This museum space’s many exhibits are focused around the actions of one man, who you may not have even heard of – a doctor by the name of Crawford W Long. However, his medical discovery on the site of the museum in 1842 revolutionized medicine forever. It was Dr Long who realised that the chemical ether could be used as an anaesthetic, preventing patients feeling pain (for the first time) during surgical procedures. Displaying many of his personal items, the museum also acts as a great introduction to life in the southern states of the US in the period immediately before the Civil War. It also includes the Pendergrass General Store, which is the only pre-war business structure that survives in Jefferson, half an hour from Gainesville.

Dr. Crawford W. Long was the physician who, on March 30, 1842, first used ether for surgical anesthesia. Born in Danielsville, Georgia on November 1, 1815, Long entered the University of Georgia, then known as Franklin College, at the age of 14. Upon graduation five years later, he apprenticed under Dr. Grant of Jefferson, Georgia, before leaving Georgia to attend the Medical Department of Transylvania University and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. It was here that he received his surgical training. Following one year’s internship in New York City, Crawford W. Long returned to Jefferson and purchased the practice of his former mentor, Dr. Grant. Dr. Long was a young bachelor of 26 when he noticed that participants under the recreational use of ether felt no pain from injuries received during their “frolics.” He reached the conclusion that ether could make surgery painless. The opportunity to test his theory came when James Venable requested that Dr. Long remove a cyst from his neck. Three witnesses reported that, on March 30, 1842, the operation was successful and Venable felt no pain. Personal artifacts and documents highlighting the life of Dr. Long, as well as early anesthesia equipment are displayed in the Medical Museum.

The 1858 Pendergrass Store building houses a recreated 1840’s doctor’s office and apothecary shop. Exhibits on making medicine and early treatments focus on the obstacles the early country doctor was forced to overcome. Changing exhibits in the Pendergrass Store offer visitors a unique view into the life of the 19th century citizen. The vision of the Crawford W. Long Museum Association is for the Museum to be recognized and celebrated as a worldwide authority on Crawford W. Long, MD and his contributions to the field of medicine. The purpose of the Crawford W. Long Museum Association is to promote, enhance and financially support the Crawford W. Long Museum in its efforts to preserve, interpret and educate the public on the achievements, life and times of Crawford W. Long, MD, a Georgia physician and the discoverer of anesthesia.

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