This is the coolest museum we've got, even disregarding the fact that it has *Albert Einstein's actual brain* on display. It needs to be preserved at any cost.
[Petition to Protect the Mütter Museum](https://www.change.org/ProtecttheMutter)
Where was this on display? I never saw it, there was onlt two floors / rooms available to view
Upper floor, walk straight in past the soap lady, and it's in the corner on the right.
Albert Einstein’s brain was stolen before he was cremated according to his wishes. There are plenty of other slices of his brain elsewhere.
The full brain is non Einstein’s. There are some imaging slides of his actual brain, but the full-size brain is just to point to different sections.
You really need to do some research on how the Mutter got many of its exhibits.
You assuming that having access to research material is actually personal research in and of itself explains a lot here.
I’ll be dead, idc they can throw my body in the trash if they want
I don’t think they care, go ask them if they do
Getting Hamilton vibes
> We've signed a treaty with a king
>Who's head is now in a basket
>Would you like to take it out and ask it?
>"Oh should we honor our treaty King Louis head?"
>Uh do whatever you want, I'm super dead!
Stand amongst the ashes of a trillion dead souls, and ask the ghosts if honor matters.
The consent of a deceased person is 100% irrelevant. You may as well ask a clay pot for consent before you display it. If a person specifically asked for something other than to become a museum display, then I would agree, we should respect their request. Otherwise the fact is we simply don't know if they might have consented or not, and frankly it's too late to ask them. (Well, I guess you can always ASK, but I'm skeptical you'd get an answer.)
Let me ask you something, though. Consent is a matter of human rights, isn't it? And isn't the point of defending human rights to prevent suffering? So can you explain whose suffering you are trying to prevent here?
Anybody who could’ve possibly been personally affected by it has been long, long gone. They’re not complaining and neither are any of their loved ones.
Many of the bodies were willingly donated and requested by the deceased themselves and you still find room to complain.
A lot of people did consent. People continue to donate their bodies to the Mutter. I don't know what the percentage is at the Mutter but I would bet given the size of their collection that even if that were the reason they were thinking about changing it (it's not), they could still put on an interesting exhibit -- just without changing things up for different seasons. Here's one lady's story.
You’re so fucking edgy
It is true there are ethical concerns that needs to be addressed, but I don't think the current director, who has been said to call regular patrons creepy and gross and can't even look at the displays, is the person to be spearheading the laborious process updating the museum's practices.
Also, while we are at it, I had been trepidatious of the museum before I visited it for the first time. It's so very easy to cross the line into the fetishistic when it comes to the subject matter at hand. The museum's exhibits do not do that. Names, history, and factual information of the abnormalities are provided. They're not sensationalized.
I'm not the person to say if it's good or not to publicize the remains online (I'm leaning towards no, especially if the remains aren't documented as being ethically obtained), but I personally think that stopping research is a critical disservice to the medical community.
That's your argument? Christ.
Yeah, OK. Way to miss the point.
People donate their bodies to science. If you don’t have a particular research you are donating to or if they used what ever they needed. Why not have something that was most significant in the advancements in modern sciences displayed? It’s not like, people went grave robbing for smart brains.
Why don’t you read about how Einstein’s brain got “donated”. Spoiler alert - it was stolen
The dude who took the brain samples did end up getting permission from Einstein's son after the fact though.
After the fact.
Ok well let's just toss it in the trashcan then lol
If life begins at conception, the need to get consent ends at death. I’m fucking a corpse
Edit: got stoned and went on a google rabbit hole about what the Bible says about necrophilia [and it’s a fascinating fucking read lmao](https://www.agameforgoodchristians.com/blog//necrophillia?format=amp)
Did you mean to say fucking a corpse?
It says it, don’t it? My therapist told me to state my intentions
At least you’re honest.
They may not have consented, but they can't exactly object, now can they?
Seriously, unless a family member comes to the museum and asks that an exhibition be taken down, there is absolutely no reason not to display something that could provide educational value for thousands of people.
EDIT: and just for the record, I have in fact made it clear to people who know me that I wish to be taxidermied after I die. Either that, or be blasted out of giant cannon into the sea. Maybe both, I literally could not care less.
Did any of the mummies in the Penn museum consent to being there? What about all of the archaeological artifacts that were found and brought there? Is that stealing? Did those countries consent to that? What about the inspiration we took from France while designing the city, isn't that cultural appropriation?
My point is these issues happen everywhere, and it's not really a problem. I've never once heard anyone complain about this stuff.
There isn't a museum in the world that doesn't face similar ethical issues, and the resolution would be to remove the few displays that were sourced without consent. Shutting it down is not the correct answer.
Why should the bodies obtained without consent 100+ years ago be removed? I don’t get who it hurts now
Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. I think it is a very good idea to have these ethical debates and make decisions in a transparent and conscientious manner. I don't think that is what the current management is doing. But if the decision were mad that some of the remains were to be returned to families or descendants, I would certainly understand why.
I believe the museum has a precedent for doing so already when their identity is known, as in 2017 they returned the skull of an Australian WWI soldier at the request of the Australian government. The issue lies in that much of the collection is very old and some are de-identified, so there are usually no families or descendants who would want them back
How does someone who can't stand the exhibits become president or whatever of the museum?
I call it the Penn effect. It’s a really common thing in the Philadelphia area academia/intellectual scene. Basically, the hiring manager sees that the applicant went to or worked for University of Pennsylvania and they go “OMG, they went to/worked for Penn! They must be smart and know what they are doing because they went to/worked for an Ivy League institution.” Its just stupidity mixed with elitism.
For real. I work in non-profits/libraries and also worked at the Mutter. The amount of people that got hired because they worked or went to Penn but had no clue what they were doing was astounding.
The last library director had no experience in rare books or collections but worked at Penn library so she was hired.
Quinn is now the director of both and was there for months and could not show people where the library catalog was. She also has no experience in working directly with collections and managing them.
Or alternatively, which I’ve witnessed before: hiring ONLY people from Penn.
I worked for a bit at one of the big philly law firms. While a bunch of the other firms would only hire from Penn, my firm pretty much refused to hire from them and mostly hired from Temple, Villanova, and Rutgers. They’re a top 50 firm with basically no Ivy League attorneys, because they don’t think the ivies actually prepare you to be a working attorney.
This is true across the board, not even just in Philly and not just within academia. A certain recent POTUS (and three of his children) who shall remain nameless graduated from Penn and I’m pretty sure he’s not what you’d call someone who “knows what they’re doing.”
This. I have worked with and for so many morons who had degrees from Penn or Harvard.
Mayne they hired her because they think the museum needs to be reformed.
Then they are all out of touch morons who want to commit institutional suicide.
Don't be jelly
They knew someone
Well fuck whoever they knew for letting this happen. If they actually knew Quinn, there’s no doubt they knew she felt this way
Docents gonna docent
Where did you read that she can’t stand the exhibit?
I read after two investigative inquiries, and the problems of some physicians keeping dead Move member bodies, with nurses and other staff being complicit, that a full review of all items and the consent from patients and their families must happen and during that time all items will be down during that review.
If people gave written consent then fine after all is reviewed those items with consent will be looked at and an appropriate place given to the items for review by medical people snd maybe the general public.
Penn is not above the law. No Funeral Home is permitted to have on display parts of those they get ready for burial. Do you check the toes of your dead relatives to make sure they are all in those shoes?
Hell let the Funeral Director at 9, 12, and 3 pull back the curtain and for $10 per person you can watch them drain the blood and flown in embalming fluid into a dead body. No consent needed. No permits for the general public. Penn can do it. Why can’t I?
As someone who worked there, and quit because of Kate, I have so many feelings.
Please share the tea ☕️
I left largely because Kate and her expectations were unbearable. I was hired on a part time role, then expected to do full time work and be available 24/7. Kate was pushing for summer camp to be planned in MARCH. I was managing the volunteer docents, and when the collections came offline, she provided me no information or language to give my docents to give the public.
She required that she give approval for every little thing that needed to be done, but then was chronically unavailable. I could never get ahold of her and she’d only schedule department meetings for days I was at my other job. She’d be upset I didn’t attend, so I’d have to take meetings on my lunch break. The meeting was 30 minutes, she was always let and left early.
Kate wants things done her way and has a lot of expectations without giving any support, and that’s something I’d heard about her from folks at the Penn Museum shortly after they announced her job at Mütter. I do not disagree in a reevaluation of the collections, galleries, and social media policy but the back door handling of it has been a problem.
Thank you so much for your insight! That makes me even more concerned for the future of the museum. I agree that reevaluation of the ethics of holding such a collection and how its presented are overdue, but that should be done with a director who is competent, available, and open to communication rather than someone flaky and rigid.
Side question, to the best of your knowledge are the descriptions of Kate in the tweet I posted accurate, in terms of her apparent dislike of the museum’s collections and its patrons?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know who’s running this Twitter page or what their relationship with the museum is. I don’t know where the information is coming from. I don’t day this to invalidate them, but simply to say I cannot back them up in any real way.
Kate did express a lot of discomfort with the museum. When the MCR concert happened, we got a surge of visitors who were more alt/emo/goth, and she was uncomfortable with that. Kate has a very clean cut, corporate style about her. I can tell you I never once saw her in the galleries, but I never heard the word “disgusting” outright. She seemed to find the most alt people freaks, but I do think it’s really unfair to say that mütter caters to the goth community as a whole. To say they do would be to lean into the freak show. Many of our staff had visible tattoos, dyed hair, piercings, etc and I really do think she would have preferred a more traditional business dress code.
Sounds like a forensic audit is needed.
It absolutely does. Many things need to be taken off display (like Einstein’s brain, explicitly given for research and not public display). In addition to issues of collections, I just think that place has a large company culture issue that is really destroying morale. That work can only take place if staff feel supported.
But instead of raises or full time jobs, they spent $9 million on a church. Then and again, what do I know? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
'ETA' is "edited to add" in case you were like me and never saw that before.
In my day it meant “estimated time of arrival”
It still means that outside of Reddit!
Argh, why would they choose an acronym that already means something else?
“Edit” is only one character longer and not hard to type…
Not sure, but “ETA” has been used as a discussion board acronym in the internet for probably over 20 years. Definitely not new. I can’t even remember the first time I used it, but I’ve probably used it hundreds of times over the years.
Seriously? I've been frequenting various kinds of internet forums for at least 20 years I've never once seen it used that way.
I think I used it on BBS systems even before the internet.
Oooh I've been thinking people just don't understand it means Estimated Time of Arrival for a decade.....holy moly this is obvious now
lmao whoops, I know what it means, I’m just tired! Thanks for pointing it out, I’ll fix it
I was just pointing it out to others.
why not just write "edit:"
it's literally only one more keystroke, as you don't have to hold shift
Thank you for not assuming we just know these random acronyms redditors throw out whenever.
BOOOOOOOOO. Mütter is my favorite museum. I want it to be weirder and more hardcore if anything.
This is like if I became the the head of the museum for sobriety and abstinence. It’s just a bad idea.
"It's been reported that she can't walk through the museum without averting her eyes." Lolololol that's actually her boss and CEO, Mira Irons. "Been reported" my ass, you've just been telephone'd.
You guys are really taking the bait. Kate Quinn was hired to be the fall guy and it's workingg. She's able to make these decisions because Mira Irons is supporting her.
Am I supposed to know who Mira Irons is?
She is Kate's direct boss and the cause of these changes. It's the Board->Mira->Kate. She was mentioned at the end of the WHYY article saying that the massive turnaround was a "normal" part of museum staffing.
You don't know her because they wanted it that way lol
The petition specifically calls for the firing of both Quinn and Irons
Board of the College of Physicians probably needs a good enema too, not just the firing of Irons and Quinn.
"It's been reported" also can't just be thrown out there in an Instagram story with no supporting documentation or even attempt to back it up. I mean, if that's true, it's odd. But by who? Who's reporting it? When did they report it? To whom?
I mean, it can be, but unless you've got something to back it up it's just gossip, really.
It's been so telephone'd and gossip'd that people think Kate said it instead of Mira! I understand peoples' passion but they don't realize how much harder this misinformation is making for a lot of people (i.e. those that work there).
Is "taking the bait" and going after someone who apparently squeamish can't even stand the exhibits she's supposed to be curating a bad thing? If Quinn goes, maybe they'll hire someone better, or if Irons is calling the shots and wants to "unweird" the Mutter, maybe we'll "go after" her next, if "go after" is strongly worded letters to the Board about broaching the public trust, and withholding donations.
Yes. I assure you that the only one who's squeamish is Mira lol. If Quinn leaves, they'll leave the position vacant until they can find another Quinn-esque candidate.
Yes, that is taking the bait.
That's a lot more convoluted than "recently fired museum director tries too hard to not be fired again"
I personally have met her and I can assure everyone that she doesn't care as much about these changes as you'd think. She is very much a "doing my job" type of person.
Mira has had all of these changes in mind at the start and only recently (with all of the directors out of the way and installing Kate) could they enact on them. Kate's reputation at Penn and the Michener was a boon for Mira. She is a professional mouthpiece for those who don't want to take the heat.
This makes me sad
Do they not realize, focusing on oddities, showcasing them, actually magnifies a “focus*ed* on health and well-being."
The oddities do exactly that.
Anyone know when they are planning to make the big changes? I'm born and raised in Philly and always thought it seemed cool but never got around to it because it was "always gonna be there". I'm flying home for a week in September...
The reports of massive changes being made are overblown. Right now, all they’ve done is change their online content. While I disagree with the way it was handled, it’s a thing that needed to be done. Summers are typically busy for museums, so I cannot imagine any major changes being made at the height of tourism.
I don’t see the College of Physicians closing the galleries to the public ever, especially given the recent property acquisition. As others have stated, this thread is kind of vague and sensationalized. I worked at Mütter and left recently, so if this is a former staff member, they’re not someone who worked under Kate.
Seems like a case of a progressive type that wants to alter the experience based on their feelings. Not unlike right wing types who remove books from libraries. I don’t like extremists from either side of the spectrum telling people how to think.
While I consider myself leftist and progressive, I think discussions concerning the ethics of displaying specimens from non-consenting humans should be had WITH representatives from the marginalized groups affected. This is a decision made in an elitist echo chamber.
It also makes no sense to pull some of the records from online that they have - they’ve hidden online archives and videos describing donations that were given CONSENSUALLY to the Mütter! Again, this shows that this is less about true accountability of the historic medical establishment and more about either optics or - as this post suggests - true disgust for the museum’s collection and its patrons.
They probably took down all the online stuff because they don’t know what’s safe to leave and what they think has to go per their objectives.
I get it, but it’s a shame that they lost their momentum on platforms like YouTube.
At the very least they could have kept videos about Carol Ortzel’s skeleton and Rob Pendarvis’s heart. The latter is actually pissed that the material was taken down apparently.
I truly don’t, as evidenced by the fact that I came onto this sub to post this petition so that more people could sign it. We need to acknowledge the errors of the past - rewriting history would have the opposite effect. Stripping the Mütter into a shell of what it currently is and deleting online access to its specimens doesn’t change the harsh facts of how we got them, and hiding them from view merely attempts to hide the past.
It’s alright, just a misunderstanding! But no, I love the Mütter and think there are ways of acknowledging and addressing the problematic way in which many specimens were obtained without literally hiding these skeletons in a closet to pretend they don’t exist
Gotcha. Thanks for posting and I hope our discussion gets people to sign.
I think it's odd to try and paint this as an example of something the political left is pushing, when by all accounts there's been no popular movement asking for this and it's some small set of individuals with their own agenda
Rightwing extremism is an actual movement doing actual damage with actual influence while most of the "both sides" takes attempting to portray some equal but opposite force on the left are just raising up random person being weird or totally imagined what-ifs
Might want to re-read my post. I didn’t generalize the left. It was targeted towards a person in a position of authority, who has leftist views. There are plenty of people like that and it’s not wrong to criticize them. I don’t generalize everyone on the right either.
I did read it a couple times
>targeted towards a person in a position of authority, who has leftist views
that's the problem right there: the jump from something whacky one person is doing to "that's a crazy leftist view"
there isn't a "leftist view" that the Mutter museum needs to be less grotesque. You're demonstrating the success of rightwing propaganda that [expressly aims](https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-inquiry/how-a-conservative-activist-invented-the-conflict-over-critical-race-theory) to make "leftist" and a grab bag of other terms serve as catch-alls for everything crazy. I don't think you're doing it on purpose but you've at least allowed its repetition to sink in
Ha, ok. You seem like you want the podium…..I gladly yield. You are demonstrating the success of left wing propaganda. Shut down discussion by insinuating my opinions are right wing propaganda. Why not toss in racist, misogynistic, nazi, fascist and all the other adjectives in the playbook. It’s tiresome.
I'm sorry you feel that having your premises questioned is "shutting down discussion", life must be hard
There is always a contrarian in every discussion. I need to learn not to reply
MAGA people spend their days finding memes of random and/or made up shit happening in the world to repost on social with cries of "LOOK THIS IS WHAT THE LEFT WANTS"
I know you don't want to be like that, just watch out there buddy
Exactly, if it's not broke, don't fix it
You can literally eat my entire ass
I love the Mutter and the knee jerk reaction is “keep it weird, don’t censor it for the woke mob/religious right/ whatever political group you disagree with,l” but there are some legitimate concerns. For example the worlds largest man in the picture specifically requested to be buried at sea because he didn’t want to be studied and put on display for people to ogle at.
The Inquirer article is blocked behind the paywall for me, but I’m sure there’s a handful of other legit reasons.
I can read the article, and the buried at sea thing was actually an Irish skeleton on display in London. That one has been taken down, and there's no similar controversy about the skeleton at the Mutter.
I don't believe the remains pictured are the ones you're talking about. The Inquirer article mentions that person's remains are in a museum in the UK.
There are definitely concerns, but apparently the director can't even look at the exhibitions and she's had ethically obtained (ie directly donated) donations pulled from online viewing as well as the ethically dubious.
I think this is a conversation that needs to happen but I find myself harboring doubts that someone who is choosing to wallpaper over everything like this is the one to handle it.
I agree that a discussion needs to be had about some of the specimens with questionable origins. The problem is this director seems like she already knows what the result of the conversation will be.
It blows my mind that the board brought her on explicitly to destroy their biggest moneymaker. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
You're talking about a completely different person who was at a completely different museum. The person you are referencing was Charles Byrne who lived in Northern Ireland. He was on display at the Hunterian Museum but was taken down in 2023.
The identify of the skeleton in the Mutter Museum is unknown but is considered to have come from somewhere in America. Which does make it questionable to have him on display as he could have been the victim of body snatching.
There are legit reasons for going over the ethicality of the displays of the Mutter but it is also important to not completely sanitize them.
I don’t see an issue with going through the collection and pulling stuff like *that*. But the whole “someone might be offended by an unborn fetus” is wild. It’s medicine. It’s life.
And some of the stuff like the phrenology skull collection. Well that’s damn important to keep up so we know how far down the road of “scientific racism” bullshit we went as a species.
It sounds like they don’t want to offend *anyones* sensibilities irrespective of political position.
> For example the worlds largest man in the picture specifically requested
Well, dead people don't get what they want. Look at the Barnes museum.
Counterpoint: he’s dead
“I hope you understand that we are actively moving away from any possible perception of spectacle, oddities, or disrespect of any type for the collections in our care,” from Executive Director in Inquirer.
> any possible perception
You know what they say about trying to please everyone all the time. Any possible perception? People perceive stupid shit that isn’t true all the time.
This is the same exact thing that happened to Eastern State when new leadership took over and axed all of the fun events like the annual Bastille Day event and Terror Behind the Walls to make ESP more focused on a place to learn about prison reform.
So, so stupid. They took someplace that was a part of the culture of the Fairmount neighborhood and reduced it to a museum a tourists will go to one time and immediately forget about. They're not a museum doing studies on prison reform, they're a former prison that people only visit because it has interesting architecture and Al Capone was held there for a time.
The events that were killed drew crowds every single year, which translated into $$ for ESP, which could fund whatever purpose they wanted. They quickly realized this and brought back a Halloween event, but tried to force learning about ESP and prison reform into it, so instead of an event its a Halloween themed beer garden thats way shittier than Terror Behind the walls.
Same exact thing is happening to the Mutter Museum getting rid of the things that actually make it popular in attempt to be more "progressive". Your non-profit won't be progressive at all if it folds because no one cares about it anymore.
Nooo I got married here last year and everyone said the coolest part was walking through the museum :(
I agree that most of the decisions they're making right now ignorant as hell, but getting married at the Mutter is the kind of disrespectful shit I think they should absolutely stop doing, actually.
You get married at the College of Physicians, and invitees are given full access to the museum as guests of patrons. There is zero disrespect.
yeah i just don't think all the folks donating their bodies did it with the intent to be set dressing at your "we applied for tax breaks" ceremony
lol right, anyone blowing that much money to be wed at the College (and incidentally significantly funding the museum) is clearly doing it to save a buck.
Not sure why you care so much about who gets to gawk at the corpses, but thankfully it’s not your call.
from "zero disrespect" to "thankfully you can't tell me not to gawk at the corpses" in 38 minutes.
I’m not a wedding visitor, so what’s your point? Do you even know?
Either it's on display or it isn't. Review the exhibits, sure, but going after this person is a half-baked jab.
That’s your opinion.
ETA: not arguing with you further. ta 👋🏾
Wish I went with my mom before that director came in…
My mom grew up in that museum and had told me to go ever since I moved up north from Florida (she’s from Philly)
We haven’t had a chance to go since COVID hit 1 year after I moved.
We hoped to go next time she visited, but I won’t be able to help myself from wondering if it changed by the time I visit with my mom to make a more normalized collection instead of one that shows more of the endless possibilities that can happen naturally
Censoring nature…. Fascinating
Sounds like yet another unique and special thing this city has is about to sterilized and ruined to appease the laptop class' sensibilities.
I agree that the weddings and Halloween costume parties at the mutter are bizarre and distasteful. There also needs to be a full accounting of how every specimen was sourced and exhibits need to be contextualized for the present day.
I do think that they do a good job of that in some parts. Like in the phrenology section for example they specifically mention how fake it is. But more can certainly be done.
The weddings I was kinda meh on. One one hand,
I found it a very strange place to get married, but it one or both people are medical professionals, I saw some appeal. The building is gorgeous, but under no circumstance should you be going into the galleries. Those should have stayed in the ballroom and gardens.
Don’t get me started on the insane BS that was Mischief. It was absolutely miserable and I just don’t see how they ever thought a bunch of drunk people in the galleries was okay. It’s an aesthetic place insofar as it’s a gorgeous building, but the collections themselves are not an aesthetic. Leaning into the Halloween thing always rubbed me the wrong way.
I thought the Dracula programming was smart. It was taking a pop culture icon people were familiar with and using it as a jumping off point to discuss how the vampire panic was a public health crisis. What we know as “vampires” was simply things like TB and rabies, but lack of access to healthcare in rural New England caused people to seek answers in other ways. Pop culture is always a good foot in the door.
What's great about it is that if you don't like it, you don't have to do it or attend any of those events or weddings.
Sorry, some people like the aesthetic and want to respect these buildings and their history by giving them visibility and money. The Ballroom upstairs is gorgeous and the garden would be a great place for the actual ceremony. It's not like people are taking their vows next to the World's Largest Colon.
Lol that same rule applies to literally every wedding, nothing special about the mutter in that regard.
But you have to understand the additional scrutiny they’re coming under with the Move bones fiasco. I’m not personally offended by weddings, just saying there needs to be consideration for the donors, their families and communities.
Laurel Hill Cemetery hosts events all of the time. It's not that "bizarre". It's completely par for the course in a world where people who have a flair for the macabre exist (like me). We are a very death negative society though so this doesn't surprise me.
Laurel Hill was built at a time when hanging out at a cemetery was actually an event to do, they uphold that in their programming. The Museum and College were built as an educational resource for physicians and eventually the public, not as an event destination. Also not personally offended by weddings being hosted, the building is lovely, but they are two different scenarios.
Ehhh museums and historic buildings (of which The Mutter is one) have been event destinations for a very long time.
Why not host weddings at the Philly morgue? How about Temple’s ER? I mean these really set the stage for a long life of wedded bliss.
Because that would be unsafe? Not really the same thing, my dude.
Don’t be so uneasy with death, it’s not natural 😉
Yeah having a wedding in a macabre historical setting is TOTALLY the same thing as having one in the middle of an ER with actively sick and dying people or a morgue that needs to be sterile for proper autopsies to be conducted.
You're an idiot.
Christ it’s not that serious. Go touch ass.
>Why not host weddings at the Philly morgue? How about Temple’s ER? I mean these really set the stage for a long life of wedded bliss.
You asked the stupid question first, bud.
This city is turning into a joke. One person gets hired and boom let’s change everything. The entitlement is annoying. I think I’m going into the woods.
Devil's advocate - this doesn't sound good but this new head of the museum has been pretty vague about what she wants to do. I know reading behind the lines the fear is this will sanitize the museam, but I don't see a whole lot of specifics here, just a lot of insinuation and trepidation. Does anyone have first hand knowledge of what has specifically been proposed so far?
I think that part of the problem is that they’re NOT being transparent about potential changes, which the petition mentions. Afaik all they’ve done so far is yank their online material - but they’ve even pulled content from donors who we KNOW consented, which makes me feel that this is more about optics than meaningful change
The reason they pulled the material: it was a knee-jerk reaction of the January 13th Inquirer article that mentioned the Mutter in one, not even that terrible for them, paragraph. I'm not even kidding. It happened that afternoon.
That’s ridiculous. At the VERY LEAST they could have kept Carol Ortzel, Harry Eastlack, and Rob Pendarvis on there. I saw in the twitter thread that the latter is apparently pissed that the video detailing his heart donation was removed
"What qualities as "human remains"? Does this mean illustrations too? What about those that gave their consent?" We emailed our superiors.
They replied back: We are not sure yet. Just to be safe, take down everything.
Looool it was so mishandled.
I tried to submit photos of my docents using teaching models from Bones Clones. They were nice, very realistic models of skulls with different pathologies and they didn’t want those for fear they may be read online as human remains. They were plastic and I figured we could probably clarify in caption that it was a teaching model.
Miss you! ❤️ We all thought it was such a shame that you left, but also that leadership deserved losing you. The dismantlement of the education department was so sad.
I’m now trying to figure out who this is.
I really, truly and genuinely, miss a lot of the folks I worked with. I thought there was a meaningful capacity for change in that musuem, but the FoH staff who could actually lead that were silenced for the sake of complacency. I just was not doing well there and needed to get out while I was ahead.
That is insane and makes no sense if their goal was to actually create meaningful change rather than for optics alone. Wow. Thank you for sharing.
Any tea to spill that hasn’t already been mentioned?
Honestly, morale is just very low and it’s such a toxic work environment. I don’t know how much that’s been talked about, but I was so miserable. I cried there so often.
That’s horrible, I’m glad you were able to get out with a new job but I’m sad to hear that the museum has been reduced to this
Other than all of this recent tea has been stressing out the visitor service staff (stop harassing them, people, Jesus christ) there's just a lot of unrelated fucked shit.
Like randomly hiring a Library Director who was a consultant who specializes in ILL, not special collections as she should be, and her absolutely fucking the library up to the point of nonfunctioning.
Or how the budgets have been massively fucked by misallocation, like when $1.5mill of Board money was spent on other things than promised and other (2129 Chestnut Street-related) wage-stagnating hijinks.
Honestly, I remember the sheer terror after the ProPublica article, then I read it. I didn’t think it was that bad and we all agree NAGPRA is much more complicate then the news reports it to be.
They are not being transparent with the changes and are not asking for collection staff expertise and are actively pushing collection staff out. They are using outside consultants, most of which have no experience in history museums or working with human remains. One of them is the former Director of the Barnes Foundation. Art Museums and the Mutter are very different.
Interesting. Penn has been caught time and time again doing wrong by large groups of patients.
This new Management, after being called out by investigations about items on display, placed there by the group called do-what-we-want-cause-we’re physicians, wants things taken down before a potential ongoing wave of lawsuits comes in asking…
Where is the consent from the deceased or family to place on display their remains for profit?
If they have them then what’s the problem. They will ho back up.
If they don’t have them, the consents, and they leave the displays up and they make profit off of them, then there ass should be sued for all profits with interest.
just because we don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. She’s doing the right thing to fix the problem of no consent that has been going on for many years at Penn as they reap the financial benefit and the patient or the family gets nothing.
I'm new to the area and went for the first time with a family member a few weeks ago.. we both thought it could use a lot of changes. Especially the lower floor. When people see something for the first time without the nostalgia and affection, well, maybe it does need some changes. ...heresy!! I imagine, don't hurt me!! Also I didn't read what changes are proposed and they are probably the Wrong Ones.
I don't think it's nostalgia. It's the same it's ever been since I moved to Philly a decade ago. I fell in love with it. Not every museum has to be your jam, I find the Barnes kinda boring.
I wanted fewer things and more context... Where, when, more about the condition causes, cures - not a lot, just more info and organization so it's not overwhelming. Oh well, don't critique beloved things. Down votes earned.
There's more of these museums than what you think.
Can anyone tell me why this comment was downvoted so much?
Because it is not contributing to the conversation, essentially giving the actions of this director a pass because there's other museums out there (without any evidence provided).
The downvote button is supposed to be used for comments that do not contribute to the conversation.