A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Mutter Museum

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On Monday, I went to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. From the museum website:

"America’s finest museum of medical history, the Mütter Museum displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a 19th-century “cabinet museum” setting. The museum helps the public understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body and to appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease."

Since you're not allowed to take pictures inside the museum (out of respect for the people who have their remains there), I am writing this post on the way home so that I don't forget anything cool! I'm sure I'll forget something, and could never list everything.

In no particular order, here are some interesting things I saw at the museum.

Note: If you click on the link, you will see a picture of what I described. Do not click if you think it will upset you. There is nothing "gory".

1. Drawers filled with items Chevalier Jackson removed from human airways. Pins, metal objects, buttons, bone fragments, dentures, and toys are just some of the items. I saw several jacks and a little metal battleship.

2. A wall of human skulls. So. many. skulls. They also had some animal skulls and brains.... cat, dog, fox, some different types of primates. Oh, and sections of Einstein's brain!

3. A death cast and the liver of Cheng and Eng Bunker. They are the famous conjoined twins. They were born in Thailand and later made a life in the US. One of the museum guards told me to look closely and I would see some of their hair that got caught in the cast. Today, it would be easy to separate the twins, but back then (1811-1874), there was risk of infection.

4. Specimens of fetuses with abnormalities. There were many conjoined fetuses, some with their brains growing outside their bodies, and some with fetal band syndrome. There were also fetal skeletons and specimens all the way from two months gestation to birth. I found that very interesting.

5. There was a specimen of a bound foot! This was super interesting for me to see because Paul and I just listened to a podcast about Chinese foot binding. Have you ever heard of that? Google it. It's disturbing and fascinating and will have you shouting... "Why did they do that!!??"

6. A "normal" skeleton and a skeleton of a woman who wore a corset. Of course the rib cage of the corset wearing woman was deformed.

7. A cast of a GIGANTIC scrotum (guy needed a sling) and a 74 pound ovarian cyst.

8. A giant megacolon. 40lbs and 30 inches.

9. A jar of human skin a woman picked off herself.

10. A horn that grew off of a woman's head.

The things I found the grossest at the museum were any wax replica of a skin disease or infection. The skeletons, brains, and fetuses did not bother me. It did make me appreciate how complex life and the human body is!

Visiting this museum was on my PA Bucket List. I decided to go on a whim the night before. Since my dad works for Amtrak, it is so convenient to park there (normally you can't) and just hop the train for a less than two hour ride to Philly. It's $32 each way, but I would spend almost that amount of money on tolls, gas, and parking. It's more fun to just zone out on the train! Plus traffic getting into Philly is HORRENDOUS.

My dad let me board the train in Harrisburg before the common folk!

The 30th Street Station in Philly is so beautiful and old fashioned.

It was a less than half mile walk from the station to the museum and it was in a very safe part of town. 

I got to see my friend Jennedy on my walk back to the station. She works right across from it! It was so good to see an old friend. We performed in The Rocky Horror Show several years ago and now keep up with each other on Facebook.

I had a quick lunch at the station before hopping the train back to Harrisburg. This sandwich was DIVINE! Turkey, egg, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and a cilantro/lime dressing.

Oh, some drama did happen at the museum. I will allow my Facebook post to tell the story...

All in all, I had fun traveling alone. It was a good little Megan Day and it wasn't expensive. Now I'm wondering what else I could do in Philly. I need to plan some more day trips for myself!
Have you ever been to any weird museums?

Do you think anything I described would upset you to see?

Any ideas for things I could do in Philly?


  1. I've been to the Mutter Museum! It was so fascinating... I went when I was in college and don't remember the no photo rule because I didn't have a digital camera anyway, but I saw some of the saw things you described like the abnormal fetuses and conjoined twins. We also went to an exhibit in Philly called Body Works but it travels, it was similar with all kinds of cadavers showing different medical conditions.

    I haven't been to Philly since, and I was 20 then... I'd like to go back now that I'm older and can drink and to see the museums and sites again.

    1. Oh you and Clay would love Philly! I know you guys are foodies, so there is that, and then of course like you said, all of the museums. I can't believe you've been to the Mutter Museum! I remember visiting my friend in Philly and we saw that Bodyworks was there but we didn't go. I am sure it was the same time it was there when you saw it because I think I am just a year or two older than you and I believe I was like 22 because it was the same trip we got our bellybuttons pierced. Anyway, Bodyworks ended up coming to Harrisburg a couple years later so Paul and I did get to see that. I would LOVE to see it again though! I'm going to hunt around and see if it still exists.

  2. I went to college in Philly and I love the city so much!! I have never been to the Mutter Museum but I did go to Body World I think it was called at the Franklin Institute. It had some similar stuff.

    1. I bet it was so fun going to school in the city!

  3. I know you enjoy your "Megan Time" but if you ever want someone to ride the train with you to Philly or NYC ( or anywhere really), I'd be game.

    There is So much to do in Philly that I feel like I could "vacation" there,,haha but that would be silly. I loved the Franklin Institute and have always wanted to do the Duck tour but that no longer exists. There are a lot of great running trails in Philly too, especially along the river!

    1. That doesn't sound silly at all! You could totally spend like two nights there, do some sight seeing, see the museums, go to the zoo. Maybe run a race!!

  4. I have never been to Philly! That is crazy about foot binding for sure. What an interesting collection of stuff!

    1. Oh dang! We gotta get you on an East Coast City Tour! :)

  5. Have you read Stiff by Mary Roach? this post reminded me of that book.

    In the capital of my home state in Mexico, Guanajuato, there is a mummy museum. It has many remains of people who were mummified.... I have never been, but it's in my life bucket list.

    There is so many things to do in Philly!! I don't go to Philly enough!

    1. No, but I know EXACTLY what book you are talking about and I have been meaning to read it. Terry Gross interviewed the author.

      Wow I would totally go to a mummy museum.

      I agree! Perhaps this fall and next summer you could take some trips? I would like to go to the Franklin Institute, but I wish they had "adult day" where there are no kids allowed. I know, that sounds terrible of me to not want kids at a museum. I want them there... I want them there so they are LEARNING, BUT I would totally pay extra to go to an adult only day!