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Our Visit to the The Mütter Museum

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

On July 3, 2015 we traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and one of the stops we had to make was to the The Mütter Museum since this location was on Marianne's bucket list.

This is an entire building with the collection from the The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, of course it was on her list. The only problem we ran into is, they do not allow photographs inside the building. If you know anything about Marianne, she was heartbroken over hearing that when we arrived.

The Mütter Museum is a medical museum located in the Center City area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It contains a collection of anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models, and antique medical equipment. The museum is part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The museum is located at 19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

We still spent time walking around inside the museum. Although Marianne was pouting that she could not take pictures inside to share with her students, we found out that you can find some photos from inside the museum at the museum's website.

You definitely get some strange feelings while walking around this museum. I (Shawn) constantly felt like I was being watched, almost to the point where I didn't really want to linger in a certain room for very long. On the other end, Marianne was in her glory going from specimen to specimen getting in close to examine some of the things that would make most people go running. Maybe it is a good thing that they don't allow pictures within the museum.

A few of their permanent exhibits

Albert Einstein’s Brain

The Mütter Museum is one of only two places in the world where you can see pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain. Brain sections, 20 microns thick and stained with cresyl violet, are preserved in glass slides on display in the main Museum Gallery.

The Soap Lady

The Soap Lady is the name given to a woman whose body was exhumed in Philadelphia in 1875. The specimen is unique because a fatty substance called adipocere encases the remains. Adipocere formation is not common, but it may form in alkaline, warm, airless environments, such as the one in which the Soap Lady was buried.

Hyrtl Skull Collection

The Mütter Museum acquired this collection of 139 human skulls from Viennese anatomist Joseph Hyrtl (1810-1894) in 1874. His work was an attempt to counter the claims of phrenologists, who held that cranial features were evidence of intelligence and personality and that racial differences caused anatomical differences. Hyrtl’s aim in collecting and studying the skulls was to show that cranial anatomy varied widely in the Caucasian population of Europe.

Cast and Livers of Chang and Eng Bunker

These conjoined twins were born in what is now Thailand in 1811. They came to the United States in 1829 to tour and speak. Eventually tiring of life as touring performers, they married sisters and bought adjacent farms in North Carolina in the early 1840s.

Although they do not allow photography (Yes, mentioned 3 times now), this is a great place to go and visit. They do have some very interesting, one of a kind, artifacts to review. I wish we had more photos to share with you, but for this one we don't. Please leave us a comment below if you have visited this location or would like to visit it in the future.

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