Weird NYC & DC! RIYL Mütter Museum, Body Worlds, anatomical collections?
April 16, 2014 1:18 PM   Subscribe

My favorite place in the entire world is Philadelphia's exquisite and incomparable Mütter Museum, I've seen Body Worlds more than a dozen times... and you should probably refrain from clicking either of those links if you are squeamish. I will soon be spending a week in NYC followed by a week in Washington, DC. Can you help me make a list of similar museums, exhibits, and collections to visit while I'm there?

Specific travel dates, in case there are temporary or traveling exhibits in town: NYC 4/21 to 4/28, DC 5/3 to 5/10.

Two asides:
+ Public transit accessibility is a must, but I am willing to travel extensively as long as I can get within 1-2 miles of the place on a bus or train.
+ The National Museum of Health and Medicine is a no-go, as access to their anatomical collection is available exclusively to researchers, and even then only by appointment. *dejected sniffle*

Thanks, AskMe!

(RIYL = Recommended If You Like)
posted by divined by radio to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
This is more on the goth side than the anatomical side, but the Congressional Cemetery has a lot of cool old graves.

also, sometimes goats graze there
posted by troika at 1:35 PM on April 16, 2014

I went to Walter Reed back before their collection was moved to NMHM and I think it's still worth a shot. I'm pretty sure there is still some weird stuff on display even though the bulk of their collection is for researchers only but I'm having a hard time figuring it out because the FAQ seems to contradict what you linked to.
The Museum has one of the world's largest collections of fluid-preserved and other human specimens. Some of these are currently exhibited; the remainder is available to researchers committed to understanding human development and disease. The Museum agrees with the Code of Ethics of the International Council of Museums that the interpretation and exhibition of human remains and other sensitive material must be performed with "tact and respect." Visitor surveys commissioned by the Museum demonstrate that members of the general public consider the display of human tissue -- including pathological and fetal -- to be acceptable and appropriate. The educational context for their display is key. As a professional, scientific institution it is our duty to help enhance and shape the natural curiosity of visitors into a unique and inspirational learning experience. We believe we are achieving this goal, and the daily comments of those who learn in our institution -- scientists, teachers, adults and children from all over -- support this conclusion.
posted by jessamyn at 1:36 PM on April 16, 2014

I only know about this place because one of my friends mentioned it. Never been there, but it might be up your alley! The Morbid Anatomy Museum, in Brooklyn. Here's their Facebook page.
posted by zoetrope at 1:45 PM on April 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

Not 100% what you're looking for but it's worth checking out Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, which is gorgeous this time of year. Not sure if they have events going on while you'll be in NYC, but I have been on tours where I got to see catacombs and such.
posted by mlle valentine at 1:51 PM on April 16, 2014

This is a shop rather than a museum, but you've GOT to check out Evolution in New York City.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on April 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Morbid Anatomy is awesome. Small, but awesome, with a nice reading library. You probably want to pre-order the Morbid Anatomy book!
posted by barnone at 3:25 PM on April 16, 2014

Obligatory Atlas Obscura mention.

They're heavily active on Twitter, too, and have a nice blog.

Their local society branch is doing a walking tour of the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn on April 26th.

Woodlawn Cemetery also has a lot of cool tours. (Unfortunately, you'll miss one of their full moon nighttime tours.)

Swoon just opened a huge site-specific exhibit (including two giant floating rafts that she built and sailed) at the Brooklyn Museum.

Here's also a big list of weird things I keep on Foursquare (somewhat up to date), including but not limited to The Earth Room, Broken Kilometer, Obscura Antiques and Oddities, the Evolution Store, Hess Triangle, etc.

Also Sleep No More may be right up your alley.
posted by kathryn at 6:38 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has the Hall of Human Origins, and also (and maybe more up your alley) a nice, though small, exhibit on mummies: "Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt."

The National Museum of Health and Medicine is a bit of a pain to get to, though it can be done, and does have an exhibition space.
posted by gudrun at 8:46 PM on April 16, 2014

I've not yet been but there is a museum of urology near the Baltimore airport on my bucket list. However you need to make an appointment for a tour and obviously you'd be taking a train plus bus out to an office park near BWI.

The National Library of Medicine at NIH in Bethesda does tours but I think that's more " how we chronicle the history of biomedical research" than "crazy specimens on shelves!"

The DEA has a small museum outside of DC (Pentagon City) but that's again not a medical specimen thing, just a quirky tangential to drugs thing.
posted by NikitaNikita at 5:16 AM on April 17, 2014

Having recently visited(July 2013) the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Srping is new(semi-recently opened), well-curated(museum content is presented well), somewhat small(only one floor), and nice/not bad IMO. I would that imagine if one liked the Mutter Museum(I have not been there yet) they might like the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Then metro/bus to silver spring and then take the 5 bus(montgomery county bus and DC smartcards work on it) to Seminary Rd & Hale St.
posted by basketballandinternet at 3:18 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Atlas Obscura entry on the NMHM is actually pretty cool. I believe they also have the bullet that killed Lincoln, although I'm not sure if it's currently on display.

Too bad this awesome bar in DC, Palace of Wonders, closed a few years ago. But here's an article about their oddities collection.

The MARC commuter train just started running between D.C. and Baltimore on weekends (it runs on weekdays as well) for $7.00 each way, so you might even be interested in checking out some stuff in Baltimore. The American Visionary Arts Museum isn't like the Mutter at all, but it's very cool. May 3rd there is going to be the super awesome Kinetic Sculpture Race through Baltimore. Edward Allen Poe's grave is right downtown as well.

Never been to this, but there's a National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore.
posted by forkisbetter at 9:55 AM on April 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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