South Charlotte

Woman donates skeleton from closet

Mint Hill Country Doctor’s Museum volunteer Dawn Funk, left, and museum executive director Becky Griffin arrange the museum's newest acquisition, a box of human bones. The skeleton pieces were recently donated to the museum by Meri-Kathryn Myer Peed.
Mint Hill Country Doctor’s Museum volunteer Dawn Funk, left, and museum executive director Becky Griffin arrange the museum's newest acquisition, a box of human bones. The skeleton pieces were recently donated to the museum by Meri-Kathryn Myer Peed.

Before moving to the South Carolina coast, former Charlotte resident Meri-Kathryn Myer Peed cleaned the skeleton out of her closet – literally – and carried it to the Country Doctor’s Museum in Mint Hill.

Museum officials are thrilled.

“This was such an important part of medical training for doctors in this era, and it’s something we did not have,” said museum executive director Becky Griffin. “We are so excited.”

I was always a little concerned about having a skeleton in my closet. I felt like it needed to be somewhere where it would be appreciated.

Meri-Kathryn Myer Peed, former Charlotte resident

The human bones have a long history with Peed’s medically oriented family.

Her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Gilette, was in one of the first graduating classes of the New York Infirmary, an all-women’s clinic and medical school established by Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States.

Peed’s grandfather and Gilette’s son, Edward H. Myer, decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and enrolled in medical school at the University of Maryland around 1906. At that time, in addition to books, students were required to purchase a skeleton to aid in their studies.

While he was in practice in Mahwah, N.J., the skeleton was a popular fixture in Myer’s office. Once he retired, Myer moved the skeleton moved across town to the office of his son and Peed’s father, Edward H. Myer Jr., D.D.S.

Eventually the skeleton started falling apart and the younger Myer stored the bones in a closet in a plastic tub.

When Peed, a nurse, signed on to teach classes in medical sciences for Union County Public Schools from 1986-1996, she brought the bones to school for anatomy and physiology lessons. Once she retired, the skeleton was put back in the closet.

Over the years, she has donated a number of items to the Country Doctor’s Museum, but never considered the skeleton. Finally, while packing to move, she decided it was time for her and the bones to part ways.

“I was always a little concerned about having a skeleton in my closet,” Peed said, “I felt like it needed to be somewhere where it would be appreciated.”

Griffin said the skeleton has now found the perfect home just in time for Halloween. The plan is to eventually string the bones together and place them on permanent display. For now, some of the bones will be displayed on a table in the museum through November.

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

Learn more:

The Country Doctor’s Museum is part of the Mint Hill Historical Society’s Carl J. McEwen Historic Village at 7601 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill. For more information, visit www.minthillhistory.com.

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