Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Temporis Ars Medicina Fere Est

To many, the sun-dials at the National Naval Medical Center are something of curiosities. Some 70 years ago, each of these conditional timekeepers stood on Navy hospital campuses at Brooklyn, NY, and at Hospital Point in Pearl Harbor (then in the "Territory of Hawaii"). They were among several commissioned by a physician, scholar, and craftsmen named RADM Ammen Farenholt, MC, USN (1871-1956) in the 1920s. Each were cast bronze with the poet Ovid’s timeless advice, “Temporis Ars Medicina Fere Est,” meaning “Time is usually the best means of healing.” Sadly, documentation on Farenholt’s project is surprisingly scant and we do not know how many sun-dials were actually commissioned or in fact still exist. Today there are several known to exist at military hospitals in Bethesda and Newport, RI.

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