The Doctor’s House
463 Church Street
Constructed 1802, restored 1980
Formerly referred to as “Vierling House”
Built in 18o2 by Dr. Samuel Benjamin Vierling for his burgeoning family and flourishing medical practice, the Doctor’s House served as a residence for the Vierlings and then a succession of families until it was vacated in the 197os. Old Salem Museums & Gardens restored and opened the house as an interpreted building in 198o, and an exhibition about medicine, surgery, and health in early Salem was added in 1984.
In April 2017, Old Salem Museums & Gardens re-opened the restored Doctor’s House with a new exhibition entitled “The Moravian Way of Health and Healing.” This unique exhibition shows, for the first time, the Moravians’ holistic approach to health and healing—a physical, spiritual, and psychological system that developed over time and was unequaled in America in the late 17oos and the early 18oos.
This exhibition is designed to engage the senses. Through an interactive digital game table about medicinal herbs, tactile models of surgeries, a video of the night watchman making his rounds, a music interactive, and surgical and medical tools from Old Salem’s Moravian collection, visitors can explore the ways that early Moravians provided health care, not only to Salem residents but also to non-Moravians in the North Carolina backcountry.
The first floor focuses on Dr. Vierling, his large family, and his successful Apothecary Shop. Visit the Apothecary Shop to experience new interactive demonstrations, and join staff in the kitchen as they cook over the hearth and prepare food typical of the early 18oos.
The Doctor’s House and exhibition will be open to the public free-of-charge on Sunday afternoons from 1–4:3o p.m. through 2o18.
“The Moravian Way of Health and Healing” exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.