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The Mütter Museum, Historically Considered
The pre-eminent medical museum in the western hemisphere, the Mütter Museum of Philadelphia began life a century and a half ago during the American Civil War. Founded as a museum of pathological anatomy to serve physicians and artists who depict the human body, during the past decades it has emerged as both a research institute and public attraction. Uncharacteristic of other museums, visitors to the Mütter develop intimate connections with the humanity on display as they experience the pathological sublime, an intense emotional response tinged with horror. The museum ethos today espouses the medical humanities, recognizing the importance of understanding human health in all its manifestations.
Robert D. Hicks, PhD, former director of the museum and the Historical Medical Library at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, offers an illustrated, historically considered guided tour of the museum, highlighting its special residents, projects, and perspectives.
Dr. Hicks directed the museum and library for almost twelve years. He has worked with museum-based education and exhibits for four decades, primarily as a consultant to historic sites and museums. His disorganized background includes a first career in law enforcement, service as a naval officer, university degrees in anthropology and archaeology and a doctorate in maritime history from the University of Exeter. He was also labeled “a field marshal in Satan’s army” in a national political publication.
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