Historic Preservation

  • Sections of the hospital illustrate the system of heating and ventilation in the late 19th century.

    Courtesy The Athaeneum of Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Hospital Collection on Long-Term Loan to the Athenaeum of Philadelphia through the Pew Charitable Trusts Museum Loan Program.

Caring for the Nation’s First Hospital

Saturday, May 15, 2021 2:00pm
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Virtual Event; Register Online

Hospital buildings have long held a prominent place in modern cities, and their essential role in public health has never been more evident. Founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, the Pennsylvania Hospital is the oldest continuously operating hospital in the United States. For more than 250 years, it has remained at the cutting edge of medical knowledge, education, and innovation. Today, it is nationally recognized in areas such as orthopaedics, cardiac care, vascular surgery, neurosciences, otorhinolaryngology (ENT), oncology, and urology as well as obstetrics, high-risk maternal and fetal services, neonatology, and behavioral health. As the hospital has grown and evolved over the centuries, its ties to its history have remained strong in the continuity of its mission and service, and are reflected in the presence of its historic Pine Building and campus in the heart of Philadelphia.

In 2020, the Hospital engaged the Center for Architectural Conservation at the Weitzman School of Design to undertake a year-long study of the historic Pine Street building, grounds, and collections and to create a Conservation Management Plan, (CMP). For a site like the Hospital, which possesses enormous social and historic value through its age and civic function and which continues to fulfill its original mission of patient care, a CMP offers informed guidance for future management, decision-making, and prioritization of preservation and conservation work. Hospital values, conditions, and programmatic imperatives are gathered through a process of archival research, field surveys, and stakeholder interviews and synthesized into a “living document”—a practical and updateable tool. Ultimately, the CMP will identify a site specific preservation philosophy taking into account the significance, ongoing relevance, and particular needs of the institution to ensure the long-term integrated care of the Hospital’s mission and legacy.

In this panel discussion, Weitzman Lecturer Kecia Fong (MSHP‘99), Project Manager Starr Herr-Cardillo (MSHP‘17), and Associate Professor Aaron Wunsch, an architectural historian, are joined by Pennsylvania Hospital’s Curator/Lead Archivist Stacey Peeples, in sharing their thoughts and findings about the CMP planning process.


If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email news@design.upenn.edu to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.