It's unclear when, or how, the fascination with bodies and anatomy became so popular in the US, but one thing is for sure: It's here to stay. The beautiful thing about science is that we have many museums dedicated to it and they're not afraid to push the limits when it comes to out-of-class teachings.
Unlike a high school bio class, these museums get down and dirty with everything there is to know about the human body. Some exhibitions even bring in forensic science or cryptozoology for an extra added pep to the morbid learning. Whatever our anatomy choice might be, here are ten museums that should be at the top of the list.
10 The Mutter Museum In Philidelphia, PA
This museum is considered one of the best as far as medical museums go. With its wide array of exhibits, one of the most disturbing is The Soap Lady. Her body is encased in a fatty-like substance (hence the exhibit name) and visitors can see her, along with other perfectly preserved carcasses, in this museum. The goal is to both educate and awe visitors when they learn about their own bodies through another, while simultaneously providing some good 'ol creepy preserved anatomy with it. For some history with your body party, add this one to your list.
9 International Cryptozoology Museum In Portland, ME
While this isn't strictly a body museum per se, it does have bodies in it... although not of the human kind. Time Magazine quoted this museum as one of the creepiest by far, which is why it had to make our list. This museum is dedicated to all things cryptozoology which, by definition, is strange and unusual. Visitors will see mock-up bodies of legendary creatures along with potential 'proof' that they could very well exist. It's a strange place to wander in and certainly creepy for those who follow urban legends.
8 Morbid Anatomy Museum In Brooklyn, NY
The name of this museum says it all. Brooklyn, and New York City, in general, is home to some of the greatest, most educational museums around. The Morbid Anatomy Museum is just one on that list which combines the science of anatomy with, well, actual body parts. Along with taxidermy animals, visitors will run into all things medical history, especially if they're weird and slightly spooky. Additionally, you can expect plenty of knowledge of medical practices, as the museum also houses a medical library.
7 Museum Of Death, In Both Hollywood And New Orleans
What started out as a museum in a mortuary soon grew to a full-on, stand-alone museum in Hollywood, CA. The warning to those visiting this museum is basically one encouraging visitors to browse for as long as their stomachs will allow... which could be ominous or delightful, depending on how you take your spooks.
A very similar museum popped up shortly after the museum in Hollywood opened, both specializing in all things death-related. Any forensic, crime scene, or medical procedure footage and photos you can imagine are likely to be found right here... including those from actual serial cases.
6 Glore Psychiatric Museum In St. Joseph, MO
This museum goes into the hard truth behind medical practices, all the way back to the days before medical technology was even a legitimate thing. Visitors will learn valuable medical knowledge but also history, too. From electroshock therapy to artwork from a mentally ill schizophrenic patient, this museum has quite the collection. For those interested in psychological exhibits as well as potentially disturbing medical displays, look no further than the Glore Psychiatric Museum. It's arguably one of the best timeline-based medical evolution museums in the country.
5 International Museum Of Surgical Science In Chicago, IL
For those who desire the cutting edge (pun absolutely intended) in all things medical, the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago is dedicated to just that. While it errs more on the educational side than the creepy side, that doesn't mean some exhibits here won't give you the heebie-jeebies. This museum holds some pretty neat things such as an antique apothecary box from London and skulls that date as far back as 4,000 years. It's a true treasure for those in the Chicago area and shouldn't be missed... especially for the skeleton-obsessed.
4 Warren Anatomical Museum At Havard Medical School In MA
It's no surprise that one of the creepiest (and coolest) body-themed museums can be found at Harvard since they do have one of the greatest medical schools in the country. While this museum is small, it is connected to a working medical school, and many professors use it for teaching purposes. For those who aren't attending Harvard, however, it can be a fascinating experience. One of the most unique displays is of a man who had an iron bar rammed through his brain, yet lived to tell the tale. The study of this and his psychological changes changed the world of medical science.
3 The BODY WORLDS Exhibition (Nationwide)
The next three are exhibitions that are hosted by fairly well-known museums, all strictly body-themed and fairly creepy on their own. The first is the BODY WORLDS exhibit, which has been hosted in most major cities around the world. Currently, it's on display in Boston at the Museum of Science.
This exhibit takes visitors on a wild ride around human anatomy, detailing in explicitly graphic nature every muscle, nerve, and bone that makes us tick. Complete with some slightly disturbing poses, these beefed-up humans demonstrate how we operate in day to day life.
2 Real Bodies: The Exhibition In Hartford, CT
The Real Bodies exhibition is coming to a close at the end of June but there is still time to get into the Connecticut Science Center before then. The museum itself is a ton of fun but this exhibit, in particular, is a blast. For those who love all things anatomy and muscular, this exhibition goes deep into the way we function -- including how every single nerve and muscle pulls together in order to do something as seemingly simple as moving. It also addresses common human needs and how we, as a species, have interacted with need and emotion for centuries.
1 Bodies... The Exhibition In Las Vegas And Atlanta
Dr. Mehmet Oz compared this exhibition to something akin to medical school. He claimed it brought him back to the days of using cadavers during his training, something that, obviously, not everyone gets to experience. The use of the displays in this exhibition is key; what is shown is the most essential of human life and its every function body part, nerve, and muscle. The displays go wildly in-depth into how the human body functions and are incredibly accurate in nature. It's not for the faint of heart, but it is a tremendous experience.