My award for Best Use of YouTube by an Institution that Houses and Cares for a Collection of Artifacts doesn’t go to an internationally renowned depository of art showcased in a structure that’s equally as famous as the masterpieces on its walls. It goes to a museum that’s a little something special that exists under the umbrella of the oldest private medial society in the United States
The Mütter Museum (which was established in 1858 by Thomas Dent Mütter for the purposes of medial education and research) at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (which was established in 1787 by a group of Philadelphia physicians “to advance the Science of Medicine”) is home to a collection of diseased organs and genetic monsters (including President Grover Cleveland’s malignant tumor, wax castings of conjoined twins, and preserved fetal specimens), some of which, the strong stomached curators highlight on videos on YouTube.
Director of the Mütter Museum, Robert Hicks and Mütter Museum Curator, Anna Dhody both recently launched regularly scheduled online original series showing off intriguing items from their museum’s collections.
Hicks takes 60 seconds a week in his Mütter Minute to tease viewers with top billing items like a formaldehyded piece of John Wilkes Booth and fun museum fillers like an 18th century leech carrying case.
Dhody debuted a disturbing program last week that instructs viewers to Guess What’s on the Curator’s Desk. The premiere features a dull, elongated corkscrew intended for use on females only. Dhosdy displays the item and then asks you to leave your best ideas of WTF it is in the comments. She’ll give you the answer in next week’s installment, though I’m not sure if I want to know.
The Mütter Museum first joined YouTube in October 2009 and has uploaded selections from their collections ever since, but the recent launch of Hicks and Dhody’s web series highlight a marked change in the museum’s online marketing efforts from “Let’s show the web something cool” to “Let’s show the web something cool as part of a sustained, scheduled program.”
And don’t let the numbers fool you. This content is way more intriguing than triple or four-digit view counts would leave you to believe. Give it a watch, or better yet, go visit.