Things Need to explore at The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum in Santa Ana, CA

Things to Explore at The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum in Santa Ana, CA

The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum in Santa Ana, CA, is a remarkable destination that offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. This historic home, built in 1889, was the residence and office of Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle, one of the first female physicians in Orange County. Today, the house serves as both a museum and a testament to her pioneering spirit. Whether you’re a history buff, medical enthusiast, or simply curious about local heritage, here are the things you need to explore at this unique site.

Explore the Historic House

Victorian Architecture

The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House is an excellent example of Victorian Queen Anne architecture. Key features to admire include:

  • Intricate Woodwork: The house boasts detailed woodwork both inside and out, showcasing the craftsmanship of the era.

  • Stained Glass Windows: Beautiful stained glass windows add a touch of elegance and color to the home.

  • Period Furnishings: The interior is furnished with authentic period pieces that provide a glimpse into life during the late 19th century.

Dr. Howe-Waffle’s Office

One of the highlights of the museum is Dr. Howe-Waffle’s medical office, which has been meticulously restored. Here, you can:

  • See Original Medical Instruments: View a collection of medical instruments and tools used by Dr. Howe-Waffle in her practice.

  • Learn About Early Medical Practices: Discover how medicine was practiced in the late 1800s and early 1900s through informative displays and exhibits.

  • Personal Artifacts: Explore personal artifacts and documents that belonged to Dr. Howe-Waffle, offering insight into her life and career.

Educational Exhibits

The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum features several educational exhibits that provide deeper insights into the history of medicine and the local community. Key exhibits include:

  • History of Women in Medicine: Learn about the challenges and achievements of female physicians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Medical Advancements: Explore the evolution of medical practices and technologies over the past century.

  • Local History: Gain a broader understanding of Santa Ana’s history and the role of the Howe-Waffle House in the community.

Special Events and Programs

Throughout the year, the museum hosts a variety of special events and educational programs that enhance the visitor experience. Some of the popular events include:

  • Victorian Tea Parties: Experience a traditional Victorian tea party complete with period costumes and decor.

  • Historical Lectures: Attend lectures and presentations on topics related to local history and medicine.

  • Themed Tours: Participate in themed tours that focus on specific aspects of the house or Dr. Howe-Waffle’s life and work.

The Gardens

Surrounding the Howe-Waffle House are beautifully landscaped gardens that provide a peaceful setting for reflection and exploration. Features of the gardens include:

  • Heritage Plants: Discover a variety of plants and flowers that were popular during the Victorian era.

  • Serene Pathways: Stroll along the garden pathways and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

  • Outdoor Exhibits: Some exhibits extend into the garden, offering additional information and context about the house and its history.

Plan Your Visit

Hours and Admission

The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum is open to the public on select days. Be sure to check the official website for current hours of operation and admission prices. Special discounts may be available for students, seniors, and groups.

Guided Tours

Enhance your visit by joining a guided tour led by knowledgeable docents. Tours provide in-depth information and fascinating stories about Dr. Howe-Waffle and the house’s history. Group tours can also be arranged by appointment.


The museum strives to be accessible to all visitors. If you have specific accessibility needs, contact the museum in advance to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Nearby Attractions

Make the most of your trip to Santa Ana by exploring nearby attractions such as the Bowers Museum, the Santa Ana Zoo, and the Old Orange County Courthouse.


The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum in Santa Ana, CA, is a treasure trove of history and culture. From its stunning Victorian architecture to its insightful medical exhibits, there is much to explore and learn. Plan your visit today and step back in time to discover the remarkable legacy of Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle.

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