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Guide to Collections Relating to the History of Artificial Internal Organs


Mutter Museum, College of Physicians of Philadelphia


19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


(215) 563-3737 X242

Fax Number

(215) 561-6477


Contact Person

Gretchen Worden, Director

email -

Access and Services

Researchers may make appointments to study collections or the museum information files. Requests for information and access to the collections are through the Director. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun 12p.m. to 4 p.m.


The College of Physicians of Philadelphia is an educational and cultural not-for-profit society that focuses on the changing role of physicians in contemporary society and vital issues such as bioethics, the relevance of medical history for today's policymakers, and the recognition that medicine is both an art and a science. The College's comprehensive medical library and world-renowned Mutter Museum provides collection access and information services to researchers, scholars, students, health care practitioners, and the biomedical industry.



Mutter Museum Artifact Collection, ca. 1750 to present day

Collection ID


Over 20,000 artifacts

Biographical Note

In 1849, Dr. Isaac Parrish suggested that the College start a museum of pathological anatomy to preserve valuable material that might otherwise be lost to science. On May 20, 1856, Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter wrote to the College that he was retiring from teaching because of ill health and wished to offer the guardianship of his personal museum to the College of Physicians as the "body best qualified by the character of its members and the nature of its pursuits for undertaking the trust." A popular professor of surgery at Jefferson Medical College, Mutter had amassed a unique and valuable collection of anatomical and pathological materials for use in his classes. Accompanying the collection would be an endowment of $30,000, the income from which was to pay for the salaries of a curator, a lecturer, and for the care and enlargement of the museum. The College continued to purchase collections and accept donations for both its library and museum.

Collection Description

The Museum's collections include over 20,000 objects, including approximately 900 fluid-preserved anatomical and pathological specimens; 10,000+ medical instruments and apparatus, primarily dating between 1750 and the present; ca. 400 anatomical and pathological models in plaster, wax, papier mache, and plastic; ca. 200 items of memorabilia of famous scientists and physicians; and ca. 1500 medical illustrations in the form of lantern slides, 35 mm. slides, photographs, drawings, and prints. The Museum continues to receive medical instruments and specimens donated by Fellows, other physicians, and individuals. The College Collections include over 160 portraits in oil and other media; 75 portrait busts; 600 medical medals, badges, and coins; and 25 silver presentation pieces.

Collection items relating to the history of artificial organs include:

  • a full-scale model of the first successful heart-lung machine, designed and used in Philadelphia by Dr. John H. Gibbon Jr. in 1953.

Finding Aid

Consult with Director



Related Material

Refer to archival material at the College.