Luanne, if I were to visit Philly, this museum would be a must see for me. Right up my alley, but maybe for everyone:)
The Mutter Museum
This Museum is not for the faint of heart! Some people
may have a hard time dealing with the contents of this museum. You've been forewarned.
Without a doubt the most unusual attraction in this guide, the Mutter Museum has got to rank among the most unusual places in the world. Established by Thomas Dent Mütter in 1856, the Museum was intended to display medical rarities. Today its collections contain some 20,000 human specimens and medical instruments from the 19th century to the present.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by the Hyrtal Skull Collection: 139 human skulls arranged in a cabinet. Each skull is labeled as to where it came from and what happened to its previous owner. The skulls depict physical variations among ethnic groups of Central and Eastern Europe.
Remember the famous Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker? They were and probably still are featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. The twins died in 1874, after marrying and fathering 21 children between them. Their connected livers, a plaster cast of their torsos, and a chair built to accommodate the twins are on display at the Museum.
The largest human skeleton on display can be seen here -- the bones of a 7-foot-6 giant from Kentucky. The Secret Tumor of Grover Cleveland is revealed (quite literally) as are the bladder stones of Chief Justice John Marshall.
The Eye Wall of Shame is a display of wax models of assorted eye injuries, such as a burned eye, an eye with a toothpick protruding from the retina, and other maladies seldom seen. Other wax models (and if you were not told they were wax you would not suspect it) feature a variety of lesions, diseases, hydrocephalic heads, and other rare pathologies.
There is an exhumed body of an obese woman whose fat condensed down into soap, and a few other bodies that are opened up for inside viewing. Quite old, the organs are dried out, but you get the idea. Note, these are not wax models, these are the real thing. Most of the exhibits are, and this fact certainly adds to the . . . excitement? of a visit. There is much much more than what is written here.
Probably the most unsettling exhibits are the remains of an unfortunate fellow whose skeleton began to develop outside his body and the grossly enlarged human colon -- 27 feet long and 8 feet in circumference. Then there are the many medical instruments which would seem more at home in a dungeon than a doctor's office.
Not for everyone (though each year brings higher visitation), the Museum is a fascinating study in things that can go wrong with a human body. There are no formal programs, but a tour is an education that will not soon be forgotten! While there is no gift shop, a unique calendar can be purchased.
Note: The price of admission also includes the College Gallery, which features changing exhibitions, such as the startling Ancient Scorge, Modern Menace: Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Note that all group tours must be schedued through the college receptionist at (215) 563-3737, ext. 293 during office hours -- Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm.
Trip, with her book & tea!
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