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“this museum's got it.. bones and all”
The body of a woman turned to soap, a wall of deformed skulls, pickled babies in hazy jars, and the world’s largest colon. If these things have piqued your interest instead of turning your stomach, this creepy museum of the macabre might be the perfect weekend getaway. Located in downtown Philadelphia, the Mütter Museum has the distinct honor of being the grossest museum in America (with Leila’s Hair Museum coming in at a close second). While the building isn’t huge by any means, the curators have managed to jam it full of some of the weirdest medical oddities ever cut from the human body.. and in some cases, the entire corpse. Mutter Museum began humbly enough in 1858 as a small donation of weird specimens by Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. As the years went on, so many freakish oddities and outliers were added that it required its own building. Today, the Mütter Museum has taken on a kind of steampunk attitude, its wood and brass accents contrasting heavily against the squishy things floating in faded jars. There’s a whole section dedicated to mutants (the kind devoid of laser eyes or adamantium skeletons), a cabinet filled with well over 2,000 strange items swallowed by a single person, and the twisted corpse of a woman whose body turned completely into soap. Oh yeah, ever wanted to know what tanned human leather looks like? They’ve got that too. Roadtrippers got the chance to interview Anna Dhody, curator of The Mutter Museum about some of the most underrated exhibits hidden away on the shelves. More often than not, most people visit the Mutter and make a beeline straight for the giant colon, but what we wanted to know about were the hidden gems that often get overlooked. Without further ado, here are the top three exhibits you probably missed (but shouldn't) on your trip to the Mutter Museum. According to Anna, the first thing you can’t miss peeping is the Corrosion Specimen. If you head to the teratology, you’ll find a placenta. It once belonged to a woman who had been pregnant with twins, but unfortunately only one of the twins survived. If you look closely you’ll notice a perfectly preserved embryo skeleton visible inside. Next take a stroll over to the Worden Gallery, and you'll find number two on the list... a jar of picked human skin. Gross? A little. But according to Anna, it’s a great educational specimen and teaching tool. Most psychological disorders, like depression or OCD, aren’t necessarily physically visable. That’s where the jar of picked human skin comes in. The skin once belonged to a person suffering from Dermatillomania, or a psychological tick that causes sufferers to continuously pick at their skin. Sure the artifact is a little gross, but according to Dhody it's also pretty awesome. "Human curiosity compels us to know more," Anna explained, "and that's why most people come to the museum and leave having learned something new." We couldn't agree more. Finally, last but not least takes guests on another spin through the Worden Gallery to an inconspicuous shelf laid-out with wonderful curiosities. There you'll find a light plaster cast in the shape of a misshapen balloon. No it's not a deflated party favor, it's the cast of man who had a herniated scrotum so large that he had to walk his “parts” around in a wheelbarrow. No we're not kidding. -Roadtrippers This strange building is considered america's finest museum of medical history,and the Mütter displays its perfectly preserved collections of weird anatomical specimens, wax models, and bizarre medical instruments of the past in a 19th century "cabinet museum" setting. The museum's goal is to further the public understand of the mysteries and beauty of the human body while appreciating the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease. The Collection humble beginnings started as a donation from Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, who was determined to improve medical education. Today the museum enjoys international popularity, including a recent documentary on the Discovery Channel, as well as two best-selling books.
This is a truly fascinating museum, particularly for those in the health care field. However, I do feel like this is a bit of medical voyeurism, as you are basically looking at the remains of... Read more
Amazing, amazing experience. There is street parking and a close by parking lot. I would recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time but you can also purchase while there. The layout of the museum... Read more
What a fun and unique museum. If you ever watched historic medical dramas this museum will transport you into that world. That said it is not for the faint of heart. If looking at medical... Read more
The Mütter Museum
- Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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