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 original purpose of the collection, donated by Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter in 1858, was for biomedical research and education.
The Mütter Museum originated as a collection of specimens and medical tools used for education in medicine. The museum has a collection of over 20,000 samples, of which about 10% were on display as of 2018. This does not include the sizeable literary collection contained within the Historical Medical Library, which is also housed within the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
The Mütter Museum is home to over 3,000 osteological specimens, including several complete skeletons. One of the most famous of these is the fully articulated skeleton of Harry Raymond Eastlack, who suffered from FOP. Eastlack donated his skeleton to the Mütter collection to assist in further medical understanding of the condition.
Other osteological specimens include:
- The Mütter American Giant, the tallest human skeleton on exhibit in North America, at 7’6″ (228.6 cm) tall.
- The Hyrtl Skull Collection is a collection of 139 skulls from Joseph Hyrtl, an Austrian anatomist. This collection’s original purpose was to show Europeans’ cranial anatomy diversity.
A Stitch in Spine Saves Nine
An exhibition demonstrating the development of spinal medicine and surgery Pest Control Kings
Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits: Injury, Death, and Healing in Civil War Philadelphia
This extensive exhibit examines the history of medicine through the Civil War and precisely how the conflict contributed to improvements in medical science in the Northeast US. It displays a collection of Civil War-era tools and instruments contextualized via historical documents from the Medical History Library. Other artifacts include a USCT Muster Roll, which recorded soldiers’ military histories, health, and death. Lesson plans and a nine-part documentary mini-series about the Civil War experience in Philadelphia accompany the exhibition.
Dr. Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden
Dr. Rush helped to found the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1787, now home to the Mütter Museum. Dr. Rush pushed for the maintenance of a medicinal garden to allow College Fellows to replenish items in their medicinal chests. The Garden was eventually founded in 1937. It displays between 50 and 60 medicinal herbs and plants. It is accompanied by an audio tour for visitors to learn more about the original medicinal properties and uses of the botanical specimens, which include strawberries, wormwort, and bugleweed.
Address: 19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA
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