A Potential New Fate for the Philadelphia History Museum

Drexel University, the city of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Museum at Atwater Kent are seeking public feedback about a proposed plan to turn stewardship of the museum's collection over to Drexel. The museum has been closed since July 2018.

In June 2018, the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent announced that it was closing its doors to the public after talks with Temple University fell through.

However, the fate of the museum could change after a public meeting held February 27 laid out a proposed plan by Drexel University to take over stewardship of the museum’s collection. David Rasner, the chairman of the museum’s Board of Trustees, opened the meeting with information about the museum’s mission, history, and collections. The meeting also detailed Drexel’s aspirations and involvement; although Drexel would not maintain the Atwater Kent building, the university would catalog the collection online and hire staff to maintain the artifacts. Drexel also hopes to use the museum’s collection as a tool for student learning and community engagement.

The meeting, which drew a crowd of more than 300, invited feedback from the public about the proposed plan to care for the Philadelphia History Museum’s collection of more than 130,000 artifacts, spanning 350 years. The proposed plan and the meeting presentation can be viewed on the Philadelphia History Museum’s website. The Board of Trustees of the museum welcomed public comments about the proposed plan through March 20.

The museum’s website currently displays information about the public meeting, the planned proposal, a space for public comment and feedback, and a pending Q&A section about the museum’s current state. Check back throughout the spring for new information regarding the museum’s collections and its possible partnership with Drexel.