Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Mutter Museum

I love the strange and unusual.  I also enjoy going to museums.  When the two of them are put together, it results in the Mutter Museum.

The Mutter Museum was established in 1858 as a place of medical research and education.  It is part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Gretchen Worden, a former curator for the museum, would often appear on the Late Show with David Letterman and various documentaries.  She would use humor and shock value to instill interest in the Mutter Museum.

Some of the exhibits in the museum are:
  • The Soap Lady - A woman died and was buried in a sackcloth which was sprinkled with lye (a common practice of the time).  Underground, her body fat and the lye mixed together and produced a chemical reaction.  The resulting substance was soap-like and mummified the body.
  • Human Balloon - A man was afflicted with a colon which lacked the ability of peristalsis (the squeezing motion that gets everything moving).  He became so constipated that he died due to pressure on his other internal organs.
  • Lady With a Horn - A French washerwoman had a horn growing from her head.  The horn was made up of the same cells as hair and fingernails.
The Mutter Museum is also home to numerous other medical oddities.  Though it is part of an educational system, it is open to the public.  This museum is definitely on my bucket list!

For this blog post, I researched the Mutter Museum in the book Weird Pennsylvania: Your Travel Guide to Pennsylvania's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Matt Lake.


  1. Um. Wow. I don't ever want to be a patient there.

    1. I so want to go though! It must be so much different than just reading about these things in books.

  2. You have the most interesting fun facts!