Date: Thursday, December 10
Time: 8:00 pm (Doors at 7)
Images of post mortem human remains are fascinating and disquieting. They amuse children at Halloween and disturb adults when on display at museums. Today’s omnipresent imagery of people doing everything at all times has not accustomed us to depictions of human mortality. The dead are speedily removed from view, and our direct contact with the dead is limited and controlled. Although mortal images can arouse empathy and may develop tolerance for a spectrum of human physical variation, other cultural voices argue for proscription and censure. In this presentation, Robert Hicks, director of the Mütter Museum, explores our dialogue with post mortem human imagery by examining its relationship to politics and ownership of the dead. He incorporates perspectives drawn from anthropology, art criticism, history, museum curatorship, and criminal justice.
Robert D. Hicks, Ph.D. is the director of the Mütter Museum and Historical Library at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He also directs the F. C. Wood Institute and holds the William Maul Measey Chair for the History of Medicine. Before coming to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Robert supervised exhibits, collections, and educational outreach as the Director of the Roy Eddleman Institute for Education and Interpretation at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. He has worked with museum-based education, curatorship, and exhibits, primarily as a consultant to historic sites in Virginia. Additionally, he has served as a U.S. Naval officer and worked in criminal justice for over two decades.