Explore a Museum of Medical Abnormalities

Explore a Museum of Medical Abnormalities

In 1858, American surgeon Thomas Dent Mütter donated his collection of 1,700 medical specimens to The College of Physicians of Philadelphia on the condition that they create a museum for its display. Since then, the Mütter Museum's collection has grown to more than 25,000 items. Each year, the museum's 130,000 visitors check out examples of disease and medical abnormalities in order to appreciate the legacy of medical science. In one corner, a collection of 139 human skulls line the wall in a display from Viennese anatomist Joseph Hyrtl, who strove to counter phrenologists' claims that skull shape was a sign of intelligence. Next to the skull collection, glass slides of Albert Einstein's brain sit in a drawer for visitors to examine. Elsewhere, the death cast of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker sits behind glass alongside their conjoined liver, and nearby, an 8-foot megacolon is on display to show the effects of Hirschsprung's Disease.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    These wax figures show the progress of smallpox: (1:02)

  • 2

    Dr. Thomas Mütter started the museum from a collection of pathological specimens that he had collected. (1:33)

  • 3

    Take a peek at the "Cabinet of Death": (2:46)

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Medicine

Museums

Anatomy

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