In May 2016, as part of a historic village exhibit, a vintage medical offce display was unveiled at the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Historical Society Museum in Tarentum, Pa. It showcased an examining table, offce chairs, and medical books along with old medicine bottles and supplies. The exhibit also included a country kitchen, saw shop, barbershop, dentist’s offce, fre department, beauty shop, and clothing store — all designed to give visitors a tangible look at the way people lived in the early part of the 20th century.
The medical items were donated by residents of the region with deep roots—the Shaw family. My family. They belonged to my father, Byron Earl Shaw, a beloved local physician, and had remained nearly untouched for 46 years before we made them available to the museum.
More than mere artifacts, these hard-earned tools from Byron’s profession represented a life of passion and personal commitment. He had grown up in rural Western Pennsylvania, learning at an early age that determination, hard work, and service to others were admirable qualities—qualities he himself exhibited throughout his life. Through those with whom he had contact, whether family, friends, classmates, medical associates, patients, or the community at large, he made the world a better place.