City prepares to transfer Philadelphia History Museum artifacts to Drexel

The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent is closing to the public
Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Drexel University is expected to take over the artifacts from the Philadelphia History Museum since its closure last year. 

Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia, says so far, there have been two public meetings addressing issues regarding the closure of the museum. 

"The Philadelphia History Museum closed its doors to the public last July and since then, we've been exploring a partnership with Drexel," Lee said. 

That's expected to happen by the end of the year.  

"The collections will transfer to Drexel, but that's all pending Orphans Court approval," she said. 

She explains the museum on Seventh Street had often been referred to as "the people's museum."

"The collection includes everything from Quaker dresses to historic objects like George Washington's desk and George Washington's chair."

Lee says the city will still have input once the collection moves to Drexel, and the hope is that the university will make it more accessible to the public than ever before.

"And then also to develop a very active loan program so that these items in the collection can be in other museums," she added. 

Another issue she says people are concerned is what happens to the building on Seventh street, which she says the city is still addressing.

"If that building was no longer used as a museum, the Atwater Kent Foundation, who gifted the building to the city, can ask for the building back," she clarified.