Notice

June 06 2019

College of Physicians Reveals $25 Million Campaign to Double Mütter Museum and Library Exhibition Space by 2023

$10.7 MILLION HAS ALREADY BEEN RAISED

PHOTOS: High-resolution renderings. Credit: ©KieranTimberlake

Philadelphia (June 5, 2019) — The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, home of the Mütter Museum, announced renovation plans today that will double its exhibition space by 2023 through an ambitious capital campaign that has already raised $10.7 million of a $25 million goal including six seven-figure pledges.

This marks the official launch the Transformation of The College, a campaign to raise funds to address critical needs by developing support for the College’s three most important assets: its people, its programs, and its place. The campaign will expand the Museum, create the first-ever permanent Library exhibition space, support dynamic educational programs, endow key leadership positions, and allow the public to interact with the Museum’s entire collection.

“This College, this Museum, and this Historic Library represent the common ground where medicine, health, and community merge, where the best of our past illuminates the possibilities of the future,” said Dr. George Wohlreich, President and CEO, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1787. Its mission is to advance the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine.

In the last decade, the College has made great strides in its programming, research, and attendance. Visits to the Mütter Museum have more than doubled over the past 10 years–now, 183,000 people visit annually. Since 2009, the College has launched the History of Vaccines website (World Health Organization certified), the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program, and premiered the Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits exhibition. It became a founding member of the Medical Heritage Library, a collaborative that digitizes rare medical content and the Library’s digital content has been downloaded more than 500,000 times in the past two years alone. The College hosts more than 70 public events annually and more than 5,000 students come for tours and classes each year.

As the National Historic Landmark building strains to keep up with this demand, the College’s leadership launched this campaign to maintain the character of the building, while equipping the institution to be successful in the future.

“As we thought about the future of the College, we asked ourselves two questions,” Dr. Wohlreich said. “How can we create new space where the Library and the Museum can work together to enhance understanding of the history and future of medicine? And how can we create the environment where the public, students, and researchers can learn from and interact with the entire collection?”

“This Transformation of The College campaign is the answer.”

THE RENOVATION PLAN

The Building

In the renovation, the footprint of the College of Physicians building will not change. The building–designed in the beaux arts style and completed in 1909–and the Museum are among the most important monuments in the history of American medicine. To create more public space, while preserving the footprint and structure, the existing Library stacks within the building will be rehabilitated for efficient and modern storage.

This will allow for an expansion of the Museum and creation of the new Library Gallery. In total, public exhibition space will be expanded by 82%.

Museum

The Mütter Museum is one of the oldest and most influential museums of medical history in the world. More than 183,000 people visit annually to experience the collection of 25,000 objects, but currently, 87% of the Mütter collection sits in storage and out of public view.

The expansion will create new exhibit space, including a two-story Grand Gallery. The new galleries will connect the existing Museum galleries with both Thompson Gallery and the new Library exhibition space to create a fully interactive environment. This will dramatically improve Museum circulation for visitors.

Library

The College’s Historical Medical Library collection includes important rare books, notably more than 400 incunabula (the second-largest collection in the U.S.)–books printed between 1440 and 1501, immediately after the invention of the printing press.

The Library’s digitized content has been viewed more than 500,000 times in the past two years alone, but currently, the public has no access to the majority of the collection.

The renovation will create the first-ever permanent Library exhibit space and connect the Library to the Museum. It will include an interactive Rare Book display, new public and private research areas, and activity space. Glass walls, doors, and windows will help visitors make a visual connection with the Library’s collection and its stacks.

Timeline: Construction is expected to begin in 2020 or 2021. The College is working with architectural firm KieranTimberlake on the expansion.

    

GET INVOLVED

Numerous opportunities exist to support the Museum, the Library, and the College’s programs and staff, and to be recognized on the campaign Donor Wall in the new Museum galleries and the Library. Naming opportunities include the Library Galleries, exhibition cases, stairs on the new Grand Staircase, endowed chairs, and endowed programs.

The public is invited to support this campaign and may donate at copop.org/transformation.

     

NEW EXHIBIT

Today, the Building a Vision exhibition opens in Thompson Gallery. This new exhibition covers the College’s past, present, and plans for the future. An immersive video with projections on the walls will give visitors a preview of what the space will look like after the renovation. Entrance to the new exhibition is included with Museum admission.

   

About the Mütter Museum and The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1787 by a group of physicians including Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. The College is a not-for-profit educational and cultural institution, with the mission of advancing the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine.

The College is home to the Mütter Museum, America’s finest museum of medical history, which displays collections of anatomical specimens, models and medical instruments in a nineteenth-century setting. This includes slides of Einstein’s Brain, the 139 skulls from Hyrtl’s collection, and a biannual rotation of art exhibits that accompany the themes and aims of the museum’s collections.

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.

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