Collections

Room with three tall sets of shelves with varying skeletal specimens
Room with three tall sets of shelves with varying skeletal specimens

The Mütter Museum has a unique collection of specimens and objects that reflect the human history of anatomy and medicine. Our collection ranges from seventh century BCE to today, although the majority of our collection dates from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. 

Our collection consists mainly of human specimens and medical objects, although we do have some non-human specimens. The Mütter Museum still collects objects and specimens that conform with our Collections Management Policy. For more information on donating to the Museum collection, see our FAQ.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.