History Beside Us

Massachusetts General Hospital was established in 1811 to serve Boston's general public. At that time, the sickest and most vulnerable patients were cared for in almshouses, while the wealthy could afford private care at home. Creating a general hospital was an innovative idea.

Paul S. Russell, MD
Paul S. Russell, MD

Since its inception more than 200 years ago, Mass General has remained at the forefront of medicine by fostering a culture of innovation. We continue to conduct groundbreaking research, educate health care professionals from around the world and, most importantly, improve the quality of clinical care provided to all members of our community.

The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation tells the rich story of Mass General through interactive media displays, artifacts and photographs. You can learn about the hospital's important contributions to the medical field and see how these discoveries and advancements have shaped the present—and how the hospital can continue to shape the future of medicine.

The Russell Museum is dedicated to drawing connections between innovations spanning a period of more than 200 years—from the hospital’s charter in 1811 to present day. We encourage you to visit us for an experience that will inform, inspire and engage.

Honoring Paul S. Russell, MD

The museum is named in honor of Paul S. Russell, MD, a pioneer in the field of transplant surgery and chair of the Mass General History Committee. Dr. Russell was the chief of surgery from 1962 to 1968 and directed the Mass General Transplantation Unit from 1968 to 1990. In addition to founding the Boston Interhospital Organ Bank (now the New England Organ Bank), he has served as a professor at Harvard Medical School since 1962. 

"There is so much to tell and a great sweep of interest—not only on the clinical side, but also on the research and community side—specifically around how the hospital has continued its tradition of caring for its neighbors, which today can mean in our community or around the world," Dr. Russell said.