New museum open for City of Hope patients, family and friends

July 25, 2018 | by Zen Vuong

Markel Family Museum Event From left to right: Diana Phelan, Tom Phelan, Betsy Markel, Tony Markel, Denise Markel, Gary Markel, Michael Kaplan, Bonnie Kaplan Fein, Ronnie Fein
The ever-changing Anthony F. Markel Family City of Hope Museum was named in honor of an insurance industry leader and his family
City of Hope recently opened an interactive museum for patients and their loved ones to visit, learn and reflect. It spotlights more than a century of the cancer and diabetes research and treatment center’s lifesaving medical innovations.
The 1,500-square-foot airy, dynamic exhibition hall is named the Anthony F. Markel Family City of Hope Museum in honor of a leader in the insurance industry and his family, their commitment to accelerating cancer breakthroughs and the indelible mark they have left on City of Hope.
Anthony Markel has built a national network of support for City of Hope. Robert W. Stone, president and chief executive officer of City of Hope, said Markel has made remarkable contributions.
"Tony Markel is deeply devoted to accelerating cancer research,” Stone said.
People say that Tony is larger than life. His record of business success at Markel Corporation is unprecedented. But that’s nothing, however, compared to the size of Tony’s heart. He honors City of Hope with his vision and commitment every single day.”
Markel was introduced to City of Hope in 2006 and continues to be a force of good. He chaired the research center’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, which exceeded its $1 billion goal. Markel and Michael Friedman, M.D., former CEO of City of Hope, established the Markel-Friedman Research Fund for Ovarian and Peritoneal Cancer to accelerate research and develop new ways to treat these diseases in the near-future.
Housed within a dramatic, white building designed by Belzberg Architects, the museum is a contemplative space for learning and reflection. The interactive exhibits chronicle 105 years of history, science, people and technology that, together, have made City of Hope a nationally renowned research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
Tony Markel said he believes in City of Hope’s mission, vision and excellence in compassionate patient care.
I can’t think of any other building at City of Hope I’d rather have named after me: This museum is imbued with 100-plus years of triumphant history,” Markel said.
“There are a limited number of institutions and companies that have achieved 100 years. The success of that long period sends a message of continuity, durability, strength and value – a complete picture of why City of Hope is such a tremendous source of hope for the future.”
Three 55-inch interactive screens highlight cancer and diabetes breakthroughs, physician-scientists who are transforming the medical landscape and the experiences of former City of Hope patients.
People can sit and let their mind wander as they watch the colorful leaves of a large, digital wishing tree undulate. The tree in the museum is a creative doppelgänger of real wishing trees at City of Hope, where people can participate in the Japanese tradition of hanging their deepest wishes on branches in the hopes that their dreams will come true.
At the museum, an imperceptible breeze loosens orange, purple, yellow and sky-blue origami-like leaves to reveal wishes others have made. Visitors can share their own wishes by going to or texting 669-242-HOPE (4673).
M. Steven DeCarlo, executive chairman of AmWINS Group Inc., a distributor of specialty insurance products, has known Markel for 30 years. He knows firsthand how cancer has affected his family, as well as the Markel family.
“Tony is a class act who has always gone above and beyond in the service of others,” DeCarlo said. “Tony has spent his career contributing to the industry, cancer advocacy and believes strongly in the role City of Hope plays in the research and treatment of this terrible disease.”
The museum officially opened on May 31. Many pages of the guestbook are filled with positive sentiments. A former patient wrote, “Good to be back after 43 years and with the same feeling – attention for body and soul.”
The Anthony F. Markel Family City of Hope Museum is located at 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte CA 91010, across the way from the Japanese Garden. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sign up to receive the latest updates on City of Hope news, medical breakthroughs, and prevention tips straight to your email inbox!

Back To Top

Search Blogs