Art on a city-block scale. Wandering through a labyrinth of found objects at Philly’s Magic Gardens. More photos
The skull collection at the Mütter Museum.
A strange, sometimes terrifying museum, the Mütter’s collection of anatomical specimens and oddities was established to help educate medical students about the human body (and everything that can go wrong with it). Displayed in a sort of massive curio cabinet, the museum includes several human skeletons, preserved body parts, and tumors; jars of conjoined fetuses, slides of Einstein’s brain, a liver deformed from wearing a corset, a 70 lb ovarian cyst, drawers full of objects people have swallowed, the body of a woman whose corpse turned into soap, an actual tsantsa (shrunken head), and a special exhibition on surgery during the Civil War. Not for the faint of heart, but a few people seemed to be bringing their kids along anyway.
I highly recommend watching The Art of The Steal (available on Netflix Instant) and visiting the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. This astonishing new museum houses the collection of one man, Albert Barnes, and the documentary covers how his will, which stipulated that the collection should never leave his house or be displayed in a public museum, was unraveled. In addition the to hundreds of masterful paintings by Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, and other artists, each room replicates a scene in Barnes’ original collection, so you can ponder why he placed certain pieces together and find the connections between them.