The National Health and Public Safety History Museum will become Dublin’s sixth museum when they open their doors for the first time at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14.
Dublin’s newest museum is curated by Jonathon Weiss, an 18-year-old Iowa teenager who has found a permanent home for his collection within the walls of the old Premier High School, a collection which previously traveled the country as a mobile exhibit.
When Weiss was just about to turn 14, his neighbor passed, leaving him a set of Geiger counters dating back to 1962. Weiss wanted to know everything he could about the items, and it led him to collect many other artifacts.
“After I got the Geiger counters, I started researching them and exploring the Cold War era and collecting items from that period to go along with the Geiger counters, like fallout shelter signs and then I branched out into World War II, World War I and the Korean war, and then it just kept growing,” he said.
He continued gathering items until it grew to about 3,000. By the time he had collected 5,000 pieces, Weiss and his father, Eddy, received accreditation as the national museum in February 2019.
Weiss and his father began touring the nation, operating out of a 10’x6’ trailer, showcasing pieces of history that honor the hard work and sacrifice of those devoted to keeping America safe.
“Last year alone, I traveled over 110,000 miles with my dad,” Weiss said. “We collected from online auctions, antique stores, Facebook marketplace, anywhere I could find anything.”
Weiss and his father wanted to leave the cold season of Iowa and immediately thought of Texas.
“The temperature difference was a little bit of a motivator,” Weiss said with a laugh.
Dublin kept popping up in their search and they soon realized that Dublin already had five museums – Dublin Rodeo Heritage Museum, Dublin Bottling Works, W.P. Kloster Annex Museum, Ben Hogan Museum and the Dublin Historical Museum.
Within four days, the father and son duo traveled down to Dublin to start looking at buildings and eventually decided on the old Premier High School building, which Weiss says is the largest building in the downtown district.
The large building worked perfectly for Weiss who was able to transform the entire building with his museum collection, which consists of thousands of artifacts related to health and public safety history.
The new museum will honor the service and sacrifice of our first responders, healthcare workers and military personnel. The museum will feature everything from a 1930s embalming room, to a hands-on forensic learning experience, to a 60-seat training auditorium with a U-shaped tribute to law enforcement, fire, rescue and emergency medical services.
“We actually have a coronavirus response exhibit,” Weiss said. “We have the history of lobotomies and we have a piece of the World Trade Center – North Tower, on display.”
The grand opening of the newest attraction in Dublin is 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14 with a special ribbon cutting event at 1 p.m.
At only 18, Weiss is now the curator and founder of The National Health and Public Safety History Museum.
“I always tell everyone this is what happens when a hobby goes horribly wrong,” Weiss said, chuckling. “But it’s overwhelming, exciting and an honor all at the same time to show the legacy and the history of people from the industries of healthcare, public safety and military service and be able to showcase their legacy and what they left behind. A lot of the stuff that we’ve shown in the museum, we’ve never seen in any other museum, so we’re finally giving those stories a place.”
To find out more information and a complete list of exhibits, visit NHPSMuseum.org.