History of Mass General

The new Paul S. Russell, MD Museum, opening to the public in April, celebrates medical history and innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum unveiled

22/Dec/2011

Paul S. Russell, MD, Museum of Medical History and Innovation

Updated 2/28/12 to reflect April opening

In the early part of the century – year after year – 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 April.

During the celebration, 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 the rooftop garden. The museum’s ground floor will be home to permanent exhibits which highlight the evolution of medicine and clinical practice over MGH’s 200-year history, while the second story gallery will showcase changing exhibits, while also providing space for programs, lectures and special events.

Rounds of applause were plentiful during the evening, as speakers thanked supporters for ensuring that the dream of creating the museum would became a reality during the MGH’s bicentennial year. 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 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 play in both,” Slavin said. “This is a wonderful occasion to remember that it takes a village to make this hospital so special.”

The museum will not only be a location for learning, but also a great environment for educational presentations and celebrations for MGH staff and the surrounding community. “People will be able to experience history through stories and accomplishments of the work that has been growing for 200 years – and that history will be carried on, and will carry us into the future,” said Peter K. Johnson, museum director.

The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation is located at 2 North Grove Street in Boston (on the corner of North Grove and Cambridge streets) and will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about museum exhibits, programs or tours, contact mghhistory@partners.org, or visit Paul S. Russell, MD Museum website.