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Mütter Museum in Pennsylvania

The story of the Mütter Museum started in 195, with the Doctor Thomas Dent Mütter’s donation to the city’s museum of collections of bizarre medical instruments, anatomical and pathological specimens, and medical anomalies with a purpose of research and medical education.

Today, the Mütter Museum is a home to numerous medical history artifacts ranging from Albert Einstein’s brain slides to Siamese twins conjoined livers. Here are a few that we found rather bizarre and interesting at the same time.

Section of Small Intestine

In 1849, there was a cholera outbreak in the city of Philadelphia, and over a thousand people died. From one of the cholera victims, a small intestine section had been taken so that it could be studied. Later, it found its way to the Mütter Museum where it’s still displayed in the original jar.

Rib Bones of a Person with Rickets

Another interesting artifact of the Mütter museum, are pieces of rib bones collected from a person who suffered and died of rickets. This rare disease is triggered by vitamin D deficiency, and it actually causes bones to become soft.

 

Adopt a Skull

The last example is the most popular exhibition in the museum. It is a wall of 139 human skulls, which were collected in the 1800’s by Joseph Hyrtl, an anatomist from Vienna.

What is so interesting about this exhibit is that each skull comes with its own story. For example, one belonged to a sailor from Finland who died of gunshot wounds. Another one came from a famous tightrope walker who unfortunately broke his neck in a fall.

Perhaps the reason why this is the most popular exhibit, is that the museum allows the visitors to “adopt” a skull for $200. Of course, you don’t actually get to take the skull home, but rather pay for cleaning and the restoration of the skull, which gets a small plaque bearing your name.

 

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