Interactive Exhibit Explores Life of Dr. Potts

POTTSTOWN PA – Pottsgrove Manor (at top) will be transformed beginning April 4 (2020; Saturday) to tell the life story of Dr. Jonathan Potts, son of Pottstown founders John and Ruth Potts, who dedicated his career to the study and practice of medicine and later organized the military army hospitals to prevent the spread of smallpox.

“Physician, Patriot, Potts: An Exhibit on Dr. Jonathan Potts” is scheduled to launch in the manor, a Montgomery County historical site at 100 W. King St., with a special opening-day lecture and tours. The exhibit continues through Sept. 27 (Sunday).

Educated at some of the top medical schools of the 18th century, Jonathan graduated as valedictorian from the College of Philadelphia and set up his practice and apothecary shop in Reading. His convictions eventually lead him to join the patriot cause, which sent him to Fort Ticonderoga. Eventually, his leadership brought him back to Pennsylvania and the Valley Forge winter encampment in 1777-78 as a director of hospitals.

Interactive components will help connect visitors to Jonathan’s life and turning points for his journey:

  • Find Jonathan in a London coffeehouse as his educational path is disrupted.
  • Visit his busy doctor’s office and see original 18th century medical objects on display.
  • Join the arguments in the Pennsylvania Assembly on the outbreak of war, and discover the conditions faced while treating soldiers in military hospitals.
  • Uncover how Jonathan’s military experience impacted the rest of his short life and reflect on his legacy with immersive displays.

Documents and artifacts from Jonathan’s life – on loan from Fort Ticonderoga, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the College of Physicians, a private collection, and more – will be on display throughout the museum. See letters, a hand-drawn map of Fort Ticonderoga, Jonathan’s dissertation, and the original daybook from his practice to connect with the struggles and triumphs that shaped his life.

Learn more about Jonathan’s work within the Northern Campaign and military medicine as this exhibit opens with a talk by Matthew Keagle, curator at Fort Ticonderoga, beginning April 4 (Saturday) at 11 a.m. Guided tours of the new exhibit with Pottsgrove Manor staff will begin after the lecture.

A $2 per person donation is suggested for the event. Pottsgrove Manor is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours last about 45 minutes to 1 hour; the last daily tour departs at 3 p.m. For more information, call 610-326-4014.

Photo from Pottsgrove Manor