Curator Anna N. Dhody takes viewers on a wonderfully informative tour of the historic Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, which features a unique collection of medical specimens and anatomical models. The tour includes the Hyrtl Skull Collection, The Soap Lady, The Giant Megacolon, the remains of FOP (Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva) patients Harry Eastlack and Carol Orzel, a cast of liver-conjoined twins Cheng and Eng Bunker, and slides of Albert Einstein’s Brain, just to name a few.
America’s finest museum of medical history, the Mütter Museum displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a nineteenth-century “cabinet museum” setting. The goal of the Museum is to help visitors understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body and appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The museum, which was founded by Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter in 1858 to provide for medical education and research, is maintained and housed by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is the birthplace of modern medicine in the United States.
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, founded in 1787, is one of the oldest professional medical organizations in the country. Twenty-four physicians of 18th-century Philadelphia gathered “to advance the science of medicine and to thereby lessen human misery.” …This historic spirit continues in our current mission: advancing the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine.
In 2010, artist and Laughing Squid friend Noah Scalin created a giant skull using slices of brain matter encased in acrylic at the Mütter Museum.
I made a special trip to visit my friends at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum. Anna, the curator, asked if I could make a new skull for an upcoming project of theirs and of course I said yes, and then suggested that I make it in the museum itself.