HISTORY AND INNOVATION: From left, Slavin, Torchiana, Russell and Menino
BOSTON MAYOR THOMAS M. MENINO joined MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGPO Chairman and CEO David F. Torchiana, MD, and MGH surgeon and transplant pioneer Paul S. Russell, MD, on April 10 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation. The museum, which features exhibits highlighting the evolution of medicine and clinical practice throughout the MGH’s 200-year history, will open its doors to the public April 17.
“This facility is dedicated to being a cultural and educational forum for patients and families, our staff and for the public,” Slavin said. “Through the lens of the MGH, the museum tells the story of the evolution of medicine and the innovation underway today that will shape the fabric of medicine long into the future.”
The museum is named in honor of Russell, whose MGH tenure has spanned more than 60 years. His vision and generosity helped ensure that the dream of a medical museum became a reality. Funding for the museum has come entirely through philanthropy, including gifts from the Russell family, from the MGPO – which provided one of the first major gifts to the museum – as well as gifts from many MGH clinical departments, physicians and trustees.
In tribute to the museum’s celebration of the past and present, Russell and Menino used surgical tools from the 1800s – including enterotomy scissors, an amputation saw and an ivory-handled cartilage knife – to cut the “ribbon,” a special gauze made with clotting powder developed by MGH trauma surgeon Hasan Alam, MD. The gauze is featured in one of the museum exhibits.
Menino praised everyone involved in the museum’s creation, calling the end result “perfect.” He noted that the museum not only documents the rich legacy of the MGH but the remarkable progress of medicine throughout the years, both of which can serve as inspiration to future generations. “We are so fortunate to have the best health care in the world right here on Cambridge Street,” Menino added.
Following the ceremony, attendees toured the museum’s permanent exhibits – which include interactive, engaging displays – as well as the second-floor gallery and the rooftop garden.
“We’ve been around for 200 years, and we hope that the MGH may be able to offer some perspective on how medicine got to where it is today and where it might be going in the future,” said Torchiana. “We want to make that perspective accessible and available, and that’s what this museum is all about – learning about medicine, past, present and future.”
The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation will be open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm starting April 17. For more information, visit www.massgeneral.org/museum.
Read more articles from the 4/13/12 Hotline issue.