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10 Weirdest Museums You Really Should Visit


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The Mutter Museum
A woman looks at a display of skulls at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. © Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS
A woman looks at a display of skulls at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. © Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS

The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pa., opened in 1863 after Thomas Dent Mutter, M.D., donated his collection of medical specimens and equipment for research and education. Today, the ever-growing and exceedingly diverse collection of medical abnormalities is tastefully displayed in the museum's stately marble and oak halls. There's a plaster cast of "Siamese Twins" Chang and Eng, a 7-foot, 4-inch (2-meter, 10-centimeter) skeleton, and a display of 2,000 objects removed from people's throats [source: Visit Philly, Mutter Museum].

The Mutter Museum's collection has grown to include medical oddities, antique medical equipment and scores of anatomical and pathological specimens. Notably, the Mutter Museum is home to preserved and deformed infants, a 9-foot-long (3-meter-long) human colon distended with 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of feces (you can buy a plush version in the museum gift store), and wax models exhibiting puzzling conditions such as a woman with a horn sprouting from her forehead. Perhaps the museum's most famous inhabitant is the "Soap Woman," the remains of a 19th century woman believed to have died of yellow fever. After her burial in soil that contained a specific mix of chemicals, she turned to soap, was later uncovered during a construction project -- and now resides at the Mutter Museum [source: Roadside America].


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