Muetter Museum, Philadelphia
I got to visit the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia a couple of months ago. It has lost of amazing, interesting and freaky things on display.
I wrote a post with some photos (not allowed in the museum but I couldn't resist)-
One of the strangest museums ever! It started in the 1850's as a collection of instructional exhibits for Doctors and includes lots of weird specimins, some pretty gruesome, but fun for those who enjoy odd collections...
If you have all your limbs, no congenital birth defects, and no dread diseases, then this museum will make you appreciate how lucky you are. Its exhibits highlight some of the rare diseases, conditions, and other medical problems that have occurred to people. This is not just a freak show, but a valuable educational resource. It's a must-see for anyone in the medical profession. Sorry, but NO photos are allowed inside the museum.
When I mentioned to friends and collegues that I was headed to Philadelphia for the weekend they all asked "will you be going to the Mutter Museum?" After hearing and reading more about this place, the answer was a definate yes. This place is definately not for the week stomached or faint of heart though. This museum houses many of Philadelphia's medical oddities. Some of the exhibits include skeletons of Giants and Midgets, drawers full of things people have swallowed, Cyclops fetuses in formaldehyde, an 8 foot enlarged colon, a really disturbing likeness of an old woman with a horn sticking out of her forehead (it looks like a turd) and more than you ever needed to know about conjoined twins.
No photographs or videotaping allowed inside the museum. If you go on Sunday , the website has a coupon for $2 off admission.
10AM - 5PM, Monday through Sunday, every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day
The Mütter Museum is strange, to say the least. It's a collection that includes things such as photos of grotesque looking human physical deformities and unbelievably uncomfortable looking gynecological devices (you poor ladies!).
Wanna see a midget skeleton? How 'bout a human brain sliced up so you can see a cross-section of it? How 'bout a giant colon that was the result of a seriously backed up dude (I guess they didn't have Ex-Lax at the time)?
Sick stuff, yes. But you know you want to see it!
$7/ children and students
FREE for kids under 6
The Mutter Museum is located is the medical museum of the College of Physicians. It contains many skeletons, skulls, anatomical anomalies in jars...loads of interesting stuff but not for the weak of stomach! There is a stack of drawers, each drawer containing probably 50 items, all of which were taken from the esophagus - coins, toys, beads, buttons... There are changing exhibits and docent tours. The docent leading a tour while we were there is also a "living exhibit" and could not have been more helpful, friendly or knowledgable. This is quite a place! Just up the street is the culinary institute - I understand when school is in session you can eat there, a gourmet meal cooked by the students. (If you're not off your feed after the museum!)
If you have a taste for the grotesque or just have an interest in medicine, the Mutter Museum might be for you. I write this tip at the recommendation of my mother, who is a nurse and finds this place immensely fascinating. I have no intention of stepping foot in the place. But in addition to a plethora of medical memoribilia, there are (according to the website) over 900 preserved body parts, organs, tumors, etc on display. The last time mom was there they actually had preserved conjoined twins and a sopanfied lady (a woman who turned into soap- for REAL) on exhibit. My mom has also informed me that some of the more grotesque things can only be viewed if you can provide proof you are medical personel. Sounds tempting, but no thanks. If this sounds like your bag, go for it!
The Mutter Museum has been around for a long time - the College of Physicians that runs it was founded in 1787, and since then, various medical oddities, tissue samples and instruments have been donated to the institution. Now they have over 20000 objects. The collection is fascinating from a medical educational point of view, but the museum has undergone a renaissance recently as the general public became more interested in what they consider macabre displays contained therein.
Sure, there may not be much to learn from 'the world's largest colon', or the 'soap lady' (that's a long story), but overall the experience is more educational than titillating. To raise money, they have produced a very popular calender, with photographic artists' perspectives of their exhibits (see picture). Through their website, you can get a virtual tour, read about the collection, and buy calenders, jewelry and novelty items like eyeball keychains.
For fans of Rammstein, the cover art of a recent album, "Mutter" is reminiscent of museum exhibits.
I think it's a must-see, but you have to have the proper mindset. I once saw a midwestern family on a corner with a map, trying to decide between the Norman Rockwell museum or the Mutter. Wrong!!
The Museum is open 10AM - 5PM, Monday through Sunday, every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
Most of the above descriptions are great, so I have little to add, except GO!
This used to be a dust little podunk museum, but with their new management (RIP Gretchen) over the last 10years, it's really become a beautiful showplace for the medical oddity.
I added the Roadside Americas website below because it gives a great description of the museum and has some hard to come by photos ( They wont let you take pictures unless you get clearance for being in the medical profession, journalist, filmmaker etc)
Muetter Museum of medical oddities, City Hall tour/tower (free!), Phila Art Museum (one of country's best), Rosenbach Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Independence Hall/Liberty Bell, Elfreth's Alley, Insectarium, the zoo, etc etc...