The Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by Gretchen Worden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I discovered the Mutter Museum in the 1990s because of the lovely morbid calendars my local bookshop sold. The calendars featured amazing, thought-provoking photographs by Joel-Peter Witkin, Rosamond Purcell, and Arne Svenson, taken in the collection of the medical museum. Those incredible photos, in all their glory, are assembled in this book.
Unfortunately, the calendar photos by William Wegman are included, too. The inclusion of the dogs mocking the pose of Chang and Eng’s post-autopsy death masks or stuffing their heads into a pelvis still strikes me as disrespectful to a shocking degree.
The text that captions each photo is full of fascinating information, though: enough so that it makes me want to return to the museum. The essay that introduces the museum could have easily been longer. The essays at the back of the book that detail items in the museum’s collection was far and away my favorite part, even though I love the photographs as well. My only complaint is that the final section wasn’t longer. I want to know about everything the museum owns.
You can order your own copy from Amazon: The Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The 2013 calendar doesn’t seem to be available yet.