7+ Medical Museums to Visit in the US

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Looking to keep travel weird and check out the strange and unusual? Check out one of the medical museums in the US on your next trip!

If you’re looking for something unique to do on your next trip, make sure to visit one of these medical museums in the US. You’ll be thankful for modern medicine for sure. Medicine sure didn’t start the way it is today. These medical museums in the US are fascinating, strange, and, at times, downright horrifying.

Medical Museums in the US

Indiana Medical History Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis has a lot of weird things going on and one of them is the Indiana Medical History Museum.

The Indiana Medical History Museum is an Indianapolis organization dedicated to the beginning of psychiatric medical research. It is located on the grounds of what was formerly Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane, later shortened to Central State Hospital.
medical museums in the us

National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland

Vicky of Buddy the Traveling Monkey

A really fascinating medical history museum can be found in Frederick, Maryland. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine offers visitors a unique glance at the difficult conditions soldiers had during the Civil War and the many medical innovations that occurred during that time, many of which we still use today.

As visitors explore the museum, they’ll see many historic artifacts and many dioramas that really allow you to visualize the painful situations soldiers had to deal with. One particular gruesome exhibit detailed how amputations took place.

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Anyone that enjoys history should visit this museum, but Civil War history buffs especially should consider a visit. We learned a lot of interesting facts about the war, women’s roles as nurses, and about the medicines and procedures that kept soldiers on both sides of the war fit to fight.

The museum is open every day except New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. The museum itself doesn’t have a parking lot, but there is metered on-street parking as well as the Carroll Creek Parking Deck located behind the museum. Admission for adults is $9.50.

Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Abbie of Speck on the Globe

Philadelphia is a city deeply rooted in our country’s history. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the Liberty Bell and the famous “Rocky Steps”, the city of brotherly love is intertwined with Americana. The Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is one of the most comprehensive museums of medical history in the country.  The Mutter Museum is home to anatomical specimens, antique medical instruments, and models. It was curated as a place to educate visitors about the history of medicine and diagnoses and treatment have evolved over the years. Informing and educating at the cornerstone of the museum’s mission, with the Mutter initiative of the Center for Education, a program that ranges from after-school projects to summer classes and events for continuous learning.  The museum declares itself “disturbingly informed” which is part of the intrigue of a visit. The collections go back all the way to the 7th century BC, and with skeletons, jarred specimens, and medical photographs, it is sure to pique curiosity. If you are feeling romantically macabre, you can have the Mutter host your nuptials, the museum is available as a venue for weddings and events.

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medical museums in the us
Image credit: Amy Meredith (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in St. Paul, MN

Have you ever seen a medical tool or device and thought “WTF is that?!” or “There’s no way you’re getting that near me.”

Well, you’re not alone. And, you can now visit the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in St Paul, Minnesota. You may also hear it called the Museum of Quackery.

This museum was created to display all these absolutely ridiculous, bizarre, and, honestly, horrifying medical tools and devices.

Image credit: Andrew Kuchling (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

The Paul S. Russell MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation in Boston

Meg of Frost and Sun

The Paul S. Russell MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation explores the history of medicine and health care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA.

The museum has a collection of nearly 2000 items including surgical instruments, pamphlets, photographs, and uniforms.

In addition to the main space, museum-goers can visit The Ether Dome located nearby at 55 Fruit Street. The Ether Dome is where Dr. William T.G. Morton performed the first surgery using anesthesia in 1846.

Not all items from the museum’s collection are on display but can be viewed online via the museum’s website. If you are a medical or academic researcher, you can contact the museum to view the items in person, as well.

There is a quiet rooftop garden that is perfect for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as a space where lectures and meetings can be held.

This museum is one of my favorite things to do in Boston’s West End neighborhood. What I love about this museum is that it is free, super close to public transportation, and small enough that it won’t take up a whole day of precious vacation time.

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The Museum of Medical History and Innovation is located at 2 North Grove Street in Boston, MA.

It is open Monday through Friday, from 9 AM to 5 PM.

From April through October, it is also open on Saturdays from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum

Inside the Citizens Commission of Human Rights in Los Angeles, you’ll find a state-of-the-art museum that documents psychiatry and how the industry has been driven by profit which has ultimately led to a lot of suffering and death.

The museum is completely self-guided and includes documentaries, artifacts, and displays of the treatment devices used in the psychiatry industry.

The museum is free to the public and is open 7 days a week.

medical museums in the us
Image Credit: via Flickr


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Ashley Hubbard is a writer, photographer, and blogger based in Nashville, Tennessee. When she's not searching out the strange and unusual things in life, she's searching out vegan food and is passionate about sustainability, animal rights, and social justice.

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