Mütter Matters

Exterior of The College of Physicians building
Exterior of The College of Physicians building


In recent months, there has been much speculation on the future of the Museum and a great deal of misunderstanding regarding our processes and path forward.  

Below you will find detailed information about the temporary removal and return plan of our online content as well as some important resources that provide context to the “why” that is at the core of these decisions – ethics, respect, and consent.  

We value your opinion. If you would like to share any questions or concerns with leadership, please email them to .  

Thank you for your support of the Mütter Museum. Our members, visitors, and supporters allow us to continue to do critical work in facilitating human health.  

Frequently Asked Questions

    • The Mütter Museum remains open to the public and to researchers. Not much is likely to change in the next few years. 
    • We are in the early stages of a comprehensive audit of the Museum’s collections to ensure the accuracy of our records, including each object’s provenance history, location, and related documentation. We expect this work to take several years to complete and should not affect the long-term gallery displays. 
    • Like the Smithsonian and other museums all over the world that are facing many of the same challenges, we have concluded that planning the future MUST include examination of questions such as collection provenance, consent, and what constitutes respectful display of human remains, especially at a time when these standards are evolving rapidly. 
    • We are committed to listening to all of our stakeholders, and that work is ongoing. We will do so through the recently launched Postmortem: Mütter Museum project, funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. This project will be active through September 2025. 
    • It is important to understand that this work, so important to the Museum’s future, enjoys the full support of the Board of Trustees.
  • Far from it. We want to tell even more stories than ever before and dedicate further resources to creating an engaging, educational experience for our visitors. You can expect to hear news about new exhibits and initiatives in the coming months.  

  • No. The videos were temporarily removed for comprehensive review by a panel of experts to ensure the content was ethical and mission-focused. Many have already been returned to the Museum’s YouTube page and can be accessed here.  

  • Leadership at the Mütter Museum and College of Physicians passionately believe in the mission of the Museum and its critical contributions to medical education. They care about its past, present, and future, and ensuring the institution remains a vital part of Philadelphia and the global communities who travel to visit us every year. Leadership loves the Mütter as much as our many fans do and seeks only to make the visitor experience better in the future.

Resources on Professional Standards Regarding the Exhibition of Human Remains

  • This Code reflects principles generally accepted by the international museum community.

  • A Code of Ethics and Professional Practices for Collections Professionals

  • The Code developed to address specific issues relevant to the life and earth sciences.

Feedback Reports 

In this section you will find reports from the various conversations the Museum is engaging with stakeholders, community members, third-party experts, and more as we continue with our ethical review.  

Mantua Neighbor and Active Researcher Focus Group Report 

These discussions were originally conceived to gather information about how people do or do not access the Museum’s digital collections with a stated goal of expanding the institution’s audience and who it serves in a new Museum Collections Database. Read more .

Ad Hoc Committee on Human Remains Report  

Coming soon 

Online Video Review Feedback 

Coming soon 

August 30, 2023 Online Database Launch 

The Mütter Museum announced that it will provide worldwide access to its collection of medical history through a free .  

This work aims to serve the mission to “advance the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine” by bolstering research, education, and outreach efforts. 

The new online collections database is critical to expanding transparency of the objects and specimens in the Museum’s collections, for the first time providing researchers and the public with direct access to information about the collections. 


Support for the Museum Collections Portal has been provided by . The views expressed are those of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage or The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

News Articles, Statements, Other Relevant Responses:

Response to Philadelphia Inquirer article

August 24, 2023 

Washington Post Editorial

August 16, 2023

New York Times Article

August 13, 2023

Guardian Article

August 13, 2023

Washington Post Article

July 27, 2023

Science Article

July 21, 2023

Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor

June 14, 2023

Board of Trustees Statement

June 7, 2023

Philadelphia Inquirer Article

June 3, 2023

Change.org Petition

May 31, 2023

WHYY Article

May 13, 2023

Philly Voice Article

May 12, 2023

Mütter Statement

May 12, 2023