Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mütter Museum

Today I had the opportunity to visit the Mütter Museum in Center City Philadelphia with my dad. This medical museum is a well known local hot spot (that most people have never been to - including my dad).

The Mütter is actually a part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and contains a collection that is, well, as they say, disturbingly informative...

Inside you can find all sorts of real and simulated examples of medical oddities, various (real) fetuses with various defects, disease samples, anatomical samples, antique medical equipment, and my brother's favorite exhibit--the eye disease display. The original purpose of this collection, which was originally donated by Dr. Thomas Mütter, was for medical research and education. Curious, huh?

Well, let me tell won't go more than five minutes without starting to wonder if you'll make it through the whole place without getting ill. I found myself going quickly through a couple of parts of the exhibit.

Here's an interior shot of the museum's main room (Note that I had to keep my photo taking on the DL so I used my trusty Palm Pre without flash. Some are a little blurry but you'll get the idea.):

There are several "dried" samples of various bodies and body parts that are available for learning about anatomy. Here's an arm:

There's also some items of significant historical value. They have some samples from Abraham Lincoln's assassination including Lincoln's death mask:

No respectable museum of this type would be complete without an exhibit of the results of sexually-transmitted infections. I particularly enjoyed the syphilitic skulls:

One very interesting display is of a body that is called "The Soap Woman". This unfortunate soul died in the 19th century and was buried in soil that allowed her body to be converted to what is essentially soap. She's not looking too good but as Yoda says...when 100 "years you reach, look as good, you will not":

There is a room upstairs that has a couple of rotating/seasonal/temporary exhibits. We were lucky enough to come across a nice collection of south American shrunken heads. These were super cool...

And, of course, the highlight (to me at least) is the REAL super-big human colon display. This five-foot-long colon was removed from the body of a guy who died about 100 years ago. They were able to recover about 40 pounds of, ummm, fecal matter from it. Enjoy!

If you get a chance to visit Philadelphia, and haven't eaten in a couple of hours, I think you'll enjoy a visit. Well, actually, I left the museum hungry and my dad took me to one of his favs...John's Roast Pork in south Philadelphia. Yum! Body parts and pork...a classic Philadelphia combination!

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