FAQ

Why are some of the display cases dim?

For more than 150 years, visitors have marveled at our collections. Our goal is to provide the best environment for both our specimens and our visitors. Excessive light and heat can damage a specimen over time. The Museum is working to replace traditional high‐heat halogen light bulbs with safer fiber‐optic lighting systems to reduce damage to our collection. Compared with the traditional halogen light bulbs, the new fiber‐optic light may appear a bit dimmer; however, all the specimens and labels should be properly illuminated. If you see lights out in the Museum, please alert the security guard.

I have difficulty reading some of the labels on the exhibits. Why is the text so small?

While most of the labels in the Museum have been updated in a larger font, some of the older text and labels remain. This is an ongoing project that we hope to complete in the near future.

Can I bring a stroller in the Museum?

Like many historic facilities, the Museum has limited walkway space, especially in the upper mezzanine area. Strollers can block large areas and make it difficult for other visitors to enjoy the Museum and may interfere with visitors who use a wheelchair or other medical equipment for transportation. We provide a stroller check‐in service at the Front Desk at no charge.

Can I bring a backpack or a large bag into the Museum?

The Museum has limited walking space and large bags make it difficult for other visitors to enjoy the exhibits. They also pose a hazard to our 150‐year‐old glass cases. For these reasons backpacks and luggage are not permitted in the Museum. This includes, but is not limited to: luggage, large bags, book bags, backpacks, small carry-ons, and shopping bags. A limited amount of public lockers are available for secured storage of bags and items during your visit. Lockers can accommodate items up to 12” x 14” x 15”. Items too large for the lockers must be left unsecured in the coat room. Lockers are free but require a quarter to operate. Coin is refunded at end of use.  For the best experience please travel light and plan accordingly.

Can I take photographs in the Museum?

Like many museums, we do not allow photography of any kind, including cameraphones and flashless photography. If you are a professional photographer, please consult our Imaging Policy.

How do you pronounce Mütter?

The “u” in Mütter has an umlaut. In German, the “ü” is properly pronounced with an “eo” sound. We are just as happy if you pronounce it with a long “oo” sound, like “scooter.”

Why is the Museum called the Mütter?

The Museum is named for Thomas Dent Mütter, MD (1811 – 1859), a physician, professor, and Fellow of the College. In 1858 he bequeathed his entire teaching collection of more than 1,700 objects and specimens to the College, along with a substantial endowment. These objects became the core of the Mütter Museum and today we have more than 25,000 objects in the collection.

Does the Museum have parking?

The Musuem is conveniently located between Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and SEPTA’s Suburban Station, and we highly recommends using public transit. Several SEPTA bus and trolley lines, as well as The Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours bus company, stop close to the Museum. Those who drive can find metered parking on most of the streets surrounding the Museum and several pay parking lots, including one on S. 21st St., directly behind the Museum. Members of the Museum enjoy discounted parking.

I would like to donate a medical object to the Museum. How do I do this?

The Mütter Museum accepts some donations per the College’s Collections Management Policy. Please contact the Collections Manager at collections@collegeofphysicians.org and include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • A list detailing each item you wish to donate
  • Digital images of each item you wish to donate
  • The measurements of each item and the approximate weight; and
  • Any details or history about the items, such as previous owners, manufacturers, what it is made of, how it was used, or other relevant information
  • Any manuals or instructions you have

Please know that we cannot accept any items that may pose a threat to our staff, patrons, or the collection. Each donation query will be examined case‐by‐case, and we will respond within three weeks after receiving the offer.

I would like to donate a book to the College Library. How do I do this?

The Historical Medical Library may accept donations subject to the College’s Collections Management Policy.  Please contact the Library at library@collegeofphysicians.org and include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • A full citation of the book you wish to donate—title, author, and date and place of publication
  • A digital photograph and a general description of the condition of the book

The Library will not accept any book in disrepair or that poses a risk to the staff, patrons, or the collections.  Please see Museum guidelines above.

I would like to donate a human biological specimen to the Museum. How do I do this?

The Mütter Museum accepts some biological specimens subject to the College’s Collections Management Policy. Please contact the collections manager at collections@collegeofphysicians.org and include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • How you came to have this specimen(s) (the College requires proof that the specimen was legally obtained and owned)
  • Digital images of each specimen you wish to donate
  • Any details or history about the items, such as previous owners, where and how it was procured, preparers, what preservatives were used, and, if it is a wet specimen, what type of container it is in and what fluid preservative was used

The College cannot accept any item that may pose a threat to our staff, patrons, or the collection. Each donation offer will be examined on a case‐by‐case basis, and we will respond within three weeks after receiving the request.

I would like to donate my body to the Museum. How do I do this?

Unfortunately, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and The Mütter Museum are unable to accept full body donations at this time. Occasionally, for very exceptional conditions, we are able to accept specific parts of the body. This is only with expressed interest from our Curator and Collections Manager and under the condition that the donor has a complete and fully funded plan for the harvesting and preparation process as well as preservation, conservation, and transport. Unfortunately, the College cannot help the donor through these processes. Please contact the Collections Manager at collections@collegeofphysicians.org for more information.

I have a medical instrument/specimen. Can you tell me about it?

While we would love to answer all the queries about people’s personal collections, we are a very small staff and we do not have the resources to provide such services.

I have a medical instrument/specimen. Can you tell me how much it is worth?

The Mütter Museum does not conduct appraisals on any specimen or object. To find an appraiser in your area we recommend the American Society of Appraisers.

The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

  • 19 S 22nd Street
  • Philadelphia, PA 19103
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  • Monday through Sunday
  • 10am–5pm
  • We are closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25 and January 1