HISTORY HIGHLIGHTED: Russell with his grandchildren, from left, Gregory Russell, Allene Pierson and Charlotte Russell.
Year after year in the early part of the century, MGH residents took turns scratching their names into a Victorian desk, making their mark under its wooden lift-top surface. But by the early 1960s, the well-worn desk was initially relegated for the dump – its fate changed only when its worth in the hospital’s history was realized.
The MGH has continued to preserve its medical and scientific legacies through documentation – and now display – in the form of the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation, which opened its doors for a special preview and dedication event on Dec. 15. The museum is slated to open to the public in March.
During the celebration, museum supporters and their family members toured the two-story facility on the corner of North Grove and Cambridge streets, taking in the exhibits, artwork and rooftop garden. The museum’s ground floor will be home to permanent exhibits highlighting the evolution of medicine and clinical practice throughout the MGH’s 200-year history, while the second story gallery will showcase changing exhibits, and provide space for programs, lectures and special events. Among those in attendance was longtime MGH physician Paul S. Russell, MD, a pioneer of transplant surgery and chair of the MGH History Committee, for whom the museum is named.
"I want to thank the people here for the wonderful job they have done in putting this together," said David F. Torchiana, MD, chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. "It’s incredible to know that in a few months visitors, history buffs, patient families and staff will be able to come here and learn about this venerable institution that is so much more important than any one individual."
Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, said the museum is perfectly situated in front of the hospital. "It serves as a reminder of the great history of medicine and the future of medicine – and the role this great hospital has and will have in both," Slavin said. "This is a wonderful occasion to remember that it takes a village to make the MGH so special."
Read more articles from the 12/30/11 Hotline issue.