The Dusty Road to Doylestown Hospital: The Early Years of the Village Improvement Association
September 29 – December 31, 2023
In partnership with Doylestown’s Village Improvement Association (VIA), the Mercer Museum will present the exhibition, The Dusty Road to Doylestown Hospital: The Early Years of the Village Improvement Association, this fall in the museum’s Martin & Warwick Gallery. Opening on September 29, 2023, the exhibit celebrates the centennial anniversary of Doylestown’s first hospital, and the vital role played by the VIA in its formation. Doylestown Hospital’s origin story is unique in this country’s history, beginning in 1895 when a group of local women mobilized to improve the health and wellness of their community, and founded the VIA.
Well-educated, cultured, and politically astute, these women sought to make a difference, finding a meaningful outlet for their leadership and organizational skills at a time when such abilities among women often went unrecognized. Sometimes faced with opposition, and even ridicule, the women of the VIA persevered in their efforts, eventually establishing two successors to the first hospital in 1938 and 1975. Drawing upon their identities as women, and their personal experiences with loss and grief, they forged a tradition of compassionate health care that endures today. Doylestown Hospital remains the only hospital in the country founded and still governed by an independent, secular women’s organization. The exhibition will run through December 31, 2023.