Blue, faded photograph of soldier in Civil War-era uniform and hat
On View

Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits

Special Exhibition

Mütter Museum

January 1, 2014 – September 30, 2019

Injury, Death, and Healing in Civil War Philadelphia

No Civil War battles were fought in or near Philadelphia, but the war came here in other ways. On trains and steamboats, tens of thousands of wounded and sick soldiers arrived in the city, to be cared for in local hospitals. 

What was it like to fight, to become sick or injured, to take care of the wounded? Why did people—especially women—volunteer to work day and night to relieve the suffering of soldiers? What was it like to miss home or die alone? 

Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits explored these questions via artifacts, anatomical specimens, and illustrations from the Museum’s and other collections. You could even step inside our interactive experience that let you see what it would be like to have an arm amputated.

Civil War Resources
  • Explore our Civil War lessons plans !


The following organizations loaned objects or provided support for this exhibition: 

  • Hancock House

  • Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library

  • The 3rd Infantry Regiment (re-enactors), United States Colored Troops

  • Citizens for the Preservation of Historic LaMott and Camp William Penn

This project is supported jointly by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and The Groff Family Trust.