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Mütter Museum: is this art?

A really strange museum with unforgettable objects. In 1858, Thomas Dent Mütter, retired Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College , presented his personal collection of unique anatomic and pathological materials. Now their collection boasts over 20,000 objects. Wikipedia article says:

The Mütter Museum is a museum of medical oddities, antique medical equipment and biological specimens located in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The original purpose of the collection was medical research and education, but today it is used as a museum for the general public.

But it’s also a medical freak show nowadays. Skulls eaten away by syphilis, skulls with holes in them, plaster cast of Chang and Eng, the conjoined twins, a malignant tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland‘s hard palate and stomach-turning objects, just see the images below (Image source).

Madame Dimanche, a French washer-woman from the late 18th Century with a horny growth protruding from the skin of her forehead.

Conjoined twins


19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aw…I feel bad for the conjoined twins. How old do you think they were? It looks like they share a cranial cavity.

    Why do you ask if this is art? Has someone suggested it is? I think it’s a museum, not an art gallery.

    December 31, 2006
  2. Ok, but a museum must be about art at least just a bit. And this is a strange kind of art.

    I haven’t found anything about the cranially conjoined twins, but I’d be surprised if they were alive.

    December 31, 2006
    • Mercedes #

      It is a MEDICAL museum. I do not think it is art, but something even more educational.

      December 26, 2012
    • Anonymous #

      as definition a museum is “a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.”

      so no, a museum can be without art.

      July 4, 2015
  3. I don’t see why a museum must be about art, unless your definition of art is broad enough that it encompasses this museum as well.

    Yes, you’re probably right about the twins; I was just surprised because their skeletons don’t seem that immature.

    January 1, 2007
  4. Now, I’ve found more on weird twins and medical extremities. 3 legs, 2 uteruses and others. :)

    January 1, 2007
  5. I love those geeky stuff.

    January 1, 2007
  6. Engusz #

    Hello NCurse! Meg tudnád nekem mondani hogy mi az ami a nő homlokáról lelóg és hogy hogy jöhet létre?

    January 4, 2007
  7. Fibroxanthoma a gyanúm szerint. Egy jóindulatú lágyrésztumor. Kötőszövetből jön létre és ha hagyják, akkor növöget :D

    January 4, 2007
  8. Engusz #

    A 2002-es Brencsánban nincs ilyen betegség de hasonlóak vannak mint pl fibromyxoma

    January 4, 2007

    Brencsán, Brencsán, én nem használom. Minek, ha van net? :)

    January 4, 2007
  10. Engusz #

    De a netet nem tudod elvinni a hónad alatt ha csak nincs laptopod bár az jóval drágább mint a Brencsán. (itthon mindig jön valaki hogy “Béla itt a zárójelentésem olvasd már el és mond már meg hogy mivan ráírva” vagyhogy itt mi van mert fáj stb: Na nekem ilyenkor kell dehát az én tudásom még semmi mégis mindenki engem zaklat ha van valami baja)

    January 5, 2007
  11. I’m not sure if those are interesting and educational things for me and my students or my kids. I didn’t want them to lose their interest on Biology or human anatomy especially that they’re on their way to becoming a medical doctor.

    December 4, 2007
  12. chase #

    for the idiots thinking this art, your clearly very wrong. the Mutter Museum is and was use only for medicial studies and for students/professor studying the medical arts, etc. It was only just recently(years ago) open up for the public viewing

    December 10, 2008
  13. DeeWee #

    The conjoined twins would most likely not have been born alive, and if they were, they would have died shortly after. This form of conjoined twin is extremely rare, representing only 2% of all conjoined twins. This type of conjoining does not allow for survival and no set of conjoined twins like this has ever survived.

    January 28, 2009
  14. lily #

    I think that any image or object that creates debate is a form of art, as art does reflect life.

    February 10, 2009
  15. weirdgirl26 #

    gosh… i like to go to the mutter museum,, coz i like geeky stuffs heheeheh….. and this unbelievable things happened to the human beings,, well i have to work hard just to travel away to philedelphia,,,


    March 15, 2009
  16. Hannah #

    haha My teacher wants to take us to that museum for a class triP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ahhhhhh she is kuh-razy! lol im freaked out. I just saw that place on tv as like the 6th creepiest place on EARTH!!

    April 4, 2009
  17. sharen spanier #

    uh, hello, museums are not just about art. they are about preserving history. ever heard of the museum of flight or the smithsonian? they are not art museums, they are history museums, much like the mutter. They mutter is intended as a way for medical students and others just curious to see the evolution of medical science, and to understand humans in a more comprehensive way. thanks.

    November 21, 2010

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