The College of Physicians/Mütter Museum

Updated
1 Dec 2016

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"Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadephia," 4th Liberty Loan Parade, 1918, Collection of Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of The College of Physicians/Mütter Museum.

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"Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadephia," Spit Spreads Death sign, 1918, Collection of Temple University Libraries. Photo courtesy of The College of Physicians/Mütter Museum.

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Still from Through the Weeping Glass, copyright © 2011 Quay Brothers.

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The Quay Brothers filming Through the Weeping Glass. Photo by Evi Numen.

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Still from Through the Weeping Glass, copyright © 2011 Quay Brothers.

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Still from Through the Weeping Glass, copyright © 2011 Quay Brothers.

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Mütter Museum Gallery, 2018. Photo courtesy of The College of Physicians/Mütter Museum.

The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia encourages the public to appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease. The Museum displays its preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a 19th-century "cabinet museum" setting. In addition to long-term displays, museum staff organize short-term exhibitions and commission artists to make work inspired by museum holdings. With a 2013 grant from the Center, the Mütter Museum commissioned a stop-action animated film, entitled Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum), by the London-based Quay Brothers, accompanied by an exhibition of objects used in the production. In 2016, the Museum received a Center Discovery grant to develop concepts for an exhibition about the influenza pandemic in Philadelphia (1918-19), and in 2018 the Museum received Project grant support for its implementation. With a commemorative parade, art film, digital interactives, photographs, and personal stories, Spit Spreads Death will be built on data from over 20,000 death certificates of individuals who died from the flu during the pandemic.