I have never been there, but this sounds like a fascinating place to visit:
Oddly, we have Lincoln himself to thank for the preserving of these items along with the rest of the wonderful collection at the NMHM. In 1862 Lincoln appointed William Alexander Hammond, a neurologist, to be the 11th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army. The National Museum of Health and Medicine was established that same year under Hammond’s orders. Its mission was to “collect, and to forward to the office of the Surgeon General all specimens of morbid anatomy, surgical or medical, which may be regarded as valuable; together with projectiles and foreign bodies removed, and such other matters as may prove of interest in the study of military medicine or surgery.” …
The museum holds far more than simply war artifacts. One fascinating display at the NMHM is the mummified head and shoulders of a girl who died naturally in the late 1800s and was embalmed using an arsenic-laced formula. While preserved by the arsenic, she was turned a ghostly white. The fetal section is incredibly compelling, with a row of skeletons arranged by height and illustrating different stages of development, to the conjoined twins, to the pathological fetuses, to the incredible Diaphanised fetuses (diaphanisation is a chemical process which stains the skeleton red, while making the flesh transparent). Another curious item is the Trichobezoar, a human hairball, removed from a 12 year old girl who compulsively ate her hair for 6 years. More than anything, Curious Expeditions would like to say while he surely never intended to end up as a part of the museum, we can thank Lincoln for helping create an institution where his remains are evident, both physically and metaphorically.” via Curious Expeditions thanks to julia.
- A Repository for Bottled Monsters – 500,000 digital pathology images (tissuepathology.typepad.com)