Visitors Guide: Things to Do

Things to do on Campus

Ashbel Smith Building, "Old Red" 

UTMB Old RedCompleted in 1891, the Ashbel Smith Building housed the entire medical school when it first opened. It is named for a prominent Texas physician and statesman who played a major role in the establishment of both the University of Texas in Austin and the Medical Department in Galveston. Smith also served as the
first chairman of the Board of Regents. Recognized for its ornate, Romanesque style, the building is known informally today as “Old Red” because of its ruddy exterior of red pressed brick from south Harris County’s Cedar Bayou area, red Texas granite columns, and sandstone capitals and ornamentation.

Designed by renowned architect Nicholas Clayton, the impressive structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a registered Texas historic landmark. The building was extensively damaged by Hurricane Ike but was restored to its former grandeur.

West of the University Hospital Clinics Building. Less than a five-minute walk from the hospital front entrance. 

"Birth" outdoor sculpture

BirthConstructed of welded and pressed steel, the sculpture “Birth” was created by artist Arthur Williams of Abilene, Texas, through the Sol Del Rio Gallery in San Antonio. Funded through private gifts, the sculpture was created in 1987. All parts are sealed and finished with a heavy coating of urethane lacquer to protect them from Galveston’s salt air.

West of the Moody Medical Library and close to the  Rose Garden. About a five-minute walk from the hospital front entrance. 

Galveston National Laboratory

Galveston National LabAs one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories constructed under grants awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH), the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) enables progress in our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying the spread of infectious diseases and the pathogenesis of the diseases they cause.  It also promotes new strategies for their control – all within a safe and secure research environment.

UTMB’s researchers and clinicians have considerable specialized expertise in infectious diseases, including tropical and newly emerging viral diseases, as they have been conducting research on emerging infectious diseases for decades.  Researchers were actually engaged in biodefense research prior to the anthrax attacks of 2001. Complementing this expertise are scientists in an array of fields who contribute to the biomedical discovery of new drugs and treatments. 

In addition to the GNL, UTMB is also home to the first full-size BSL4 lab located on a university campus in the United States.  Since 2004, the Robert E. Shope, MD, Laboratory has been safely operated on campus, contributing new knowledge concerning several potentially dangerous virus infections of humans.

Access to the interior of this building is restricted to authorized personnel; you may tour its exterior. Located west of the hospital complex.  


Gleaves T. James Centennial Rose Garden

UTMB Rose GardenThe Gleaves T. James Centennial Rose Garden was donated in recognition of UTMB’s centennial celebration. Dedicated on June 14, 1991, the wheelchair-accessible garden features 1,310 roses and 46 varieties, including hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora. Named for the wife of former UTMB President Thomas N. James, M.D., the garden was a gift from Mary John and Ralph Spence of Tyler, Texas, and designed as a joint project of Larry J. Burks, architect rosarian from Tyler, and Boyce Tankersley, former UTMB superintendent of grounds maintenance. In 1993, the garden was named to the All-American Rose Selection nationwide network of approved AARS Public Gardens. An endowment of private funds provides for annual maintenance and renovations.

West of the Moody Medical Library and next to the "Birth" sculpture. About a five-minute walk from the hospital front entrance. 

John P. McGovern Hall of Medical History

On the main level of the Ashbel Smith Building is the John P. McGovern Hall of Medical History, featuring 12 larger-than-life statues sculpted by Doris Appel. The artworks represent outstanding contributors to the field of medicine, from Imhotep in 2600 B.C. to Marie Curie, whose work earned two Nobel Prizes in the early 20th century.  [See brochure]

In the Ashbel Smith Building, west of the University Hospital Clinics Building. Less than a five-minute walk from the hospital front entrance

John Sealy Hospital Gift Shop

UTMB's Hospital Gift Shop is located on the 1st Floor of John Sealy Hospital, to the right from the hospital's main entrance. Operated by Lori’s Gifts, the shop offers a wide variety of gifts including a wide variety of gift items and services, including fresh flowers, balloons, greeting cards, stuffed animals, figurines, home décor items, candles and lotions, and jewelry. The shop also provides delivery services to the rooms of hospitalized patients at no additional charge.

First floor of John Sealy Hospital, near the hospital's main entrance.

Moody Medical Library

Moody Medical LibraryUTMB’s library was begun soon after the school was established and initially contained 500 volumes given to the school by Dr. Thomas J. Heard of Galveston. First housed in the Ashbel Smith Building, the library was relocated a number of times before construction of the current permanent facility. Moody Medical Library was built in 1972 at a cost of $2.8 million, funded in part by the Moody Foundation of Galveston. Today, this five-story structure contains more than 300,000 volumes. In addition to bound journals, books and audiovisual titles, the library offers extensive computer facilities for accessing electronic resources, the Internet and e-mail.

The library’s first floor features public exhibits of art, photography and cultural artifacts each month, as well as an outpost of a local favorite, the Mod coffee shop. The Truman G. Blocker History of Medicine Collections, on the fourth floor, features the largest collection in the Southwest of medical archives, prints, portraits, manuscripts, microscopes, medical instruments and a number of rare books, including 33 that were printed before 1501.

On Market St., between 9th and 10th streets. Less than five minutes from hospital main entrance. 

UTMB Bookstore

The UTMB Bookstore was established in 1959 and is located on the first floor of the Moody Medical Library. It offers medical books, medical instruments, and supplies, as well as a wide assortment of university-branded apparel and goods.

On Market St., between 9th and 10th streets. Less than five minutes from the hospital main entrance. 



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