Mutter Museum's "Designing Motherhood" examines arc of maternity care, honoring women this March

As we celebrate Women's History Month, the Mutter Museum has an exhibition on motherhood and the history and future of maternity care.

The exhibition is called Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births.

"It is examining the arc of human reproduction through a design history scope," says Nancy Hill, Special Museum Exhibits Project Manager at the Mutter Museum.

With a look at everything from midwives' literature to all kinds of tools.

"We have breast pumps, all the way from the Victorian era up until today. Three different speculums. We've got nipple shields and forceps," says Hill, "The thing that I see most of our visitors most drawn to would be the display of IUDs. They look almost like jewelry."

Most of the items on display are part of The Mutter Museum's collection.

"I think the earliest one we have in here is a replica of an instrument from Pompeii. It's a speculum," says Hill.

It's big and made out of iron with four prongs.

"Today, when you'd go to an OBGYN, you would most likely see something with two, that's surgical steel and much more comfortable," says Hill.

The show is part of a larger project with Maternity Care Coalition.

"Maternity Care Coalition's mission is really about bringing reproductive care to people who need it, sort of culturally and trauma informed," says Hill.

By reevaluating the past medical standards, the hope is to improve the future of care.

"This is a taboo subject, an uncomfortable subject for a lot of people," says Hill, "will help us unpack those sort of not so great aspects and really improve on the things that aren't working well."

With a focus on the next generation of design and innovation.

"One of my favorite objects in the exhibition is actually a brand-new speculum that's not even available on the market yet, called the Yonis Speculum. It's designed by an all-female team," says Hill.

Hill says the exhibition offers a deeper way to honor women in March.

"Because it shows them that their experiences really matter, everyone gets born," says Hill.

Designing Motherhood is on view now until May 31st. Reservations are required.

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North 33rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130

Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births on display through May, 31st, 2022, reservations required
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