The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1858, but opened shortly after the death of Thomas Dent Mütter (Mütter died in 1859) in 1863. The museum began as a donation from Mütter himself, who gave 1,700 specimens and $30,000 in cash to the museum.
Mütter’s reason for donating his specimens to the museum was to reform medical education and made the college promise to hire curators, maintain and expand the collection.
Since then, the museum had grown its collection to over 25,000 objects, fulfilling the promise the college made to Mütter when he donated his specimens.
The museum helps the public understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body and to appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Over the years, the museum has built a reputation for housing medical oddities and exposing younger generations to the best of the medical world.
The museum also has an educational program that for middle school and high school students of diverse socio-economic background to expose them to a variety of careers in healthcare and also to introduce them to the history and culture of medicine.
Here are 10 creepy exhibits on display at the Mütter Museum.
1 Human Hands With Gout
Among the items on display at Mutter Museum are these human hands, which have been preserved from the 19th-century to show the physical swelling of gout. The visibly swollen masses around the knuckles are called Tophi, which is usually very painful.
Gout, which is also commonly called Gout Arthritis, can affect any joint in the body, but it is familiar to the great toe, hands, and ankles. This pain is caused by the deposit of urate crystals around the joints, which causes inflammation, redness, and pain.
Urate crystal deposits are a result of the high level of uric acid in the blood.
Gout also called King Disease because it is common among wealthy people at an early age, but studies have shown that it can affect anybody, although the risk factor varies.
Diets rich in animal protein and alcohol are one of the likely causes of gout, although the most likely cause of gout in the 19th-century is lead poisoning. Lead is a poisonous heavy metal that was used heavily in coating metals in the 19th-century.