Are you a fan of medicine, science, anatomy, or even strange oddities? If so, you will want to check out the Mütter Museum the next time you are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Created with the intent of educating the public about medicine and the human body, this exotic museum boasts a collection of medical oddities, antique medical equipment, anatomical and pathological specimens, and wax models. While certainly not for the faint of heart, the museum is guaranteed to fill you with curiosity and amazement.
The rich, 19thn century “cabinet museum” interior truly sets the mood for discovering the history of medical procedures. Check out the famous Hyrtl Skull Collection, a 139-piece display of real human skulls. Then take a look at the wax replicas of strange and untreated conditions of the head. Make your way over to a nine-foot-long colon that once contained over 40 pounds of fecal matter, removed from a man who starred in a sideshow act titled “The Human Balloon.” Be sure to visit the Soap Lady at some point – her corpse turned into a soapy substance called adipocere, also known as “grave wax.”
If organs don't gross you out, take a look at the conjoined liver of the famous Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker. A malignant tumor from President Grover Cleveland's mouth is on display, along with slides of Albert Einstein's brain. Examine a real piece of tissue from the thorax of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. If you are feeling especially brave, take a look at the preserved human fetuses on display.
While the Mütter Museum might seem like a freak show, that wasn't the intent of the late Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter. He simply wished to cultivate an appreciation in the public for medical research and education. Still, it's impossible to deny that the museum has an unusual attractiveness from its controversial displays. If you would like to visit the museum, it's open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and military, $10 for students and youth, and free for children 5 and under. The Mütter Museum has partnered with the Penn Museum to also offer a double admission ticket for both museums- the cost is $26 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $16 for students and youth.