The medical oddities museum, located on 22nd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets in center city Philadelphia, is trying to save its skull collection with donations. A $200 donation pays for the initial restoration and remounting of a 150+ year old skull of your choosing and gets your name (or the name of the person who receives it as a gift) on a plaque next to the adopted skull for one year. A $1,000 donation ensures the plaque will sit next to the adopted skull for 10 years, and earn you an official skull replica.
The skulls are among a collection of 139 gathered in the 1800s by Viennese anatomist Joseph Hyrtl. They belonged to prostitutes, sailors, robbers, soldiers, Gypsies, and others who families did not object to donating them after their passing. They represent a wide range of ages from eight to 80, and have been a part of the Mutter’s collection since 1874.
Hyrtl studied the skulls to prove that phrenology, a science that alleged the size of one’s skull indicates the person’s intelligence, a widely believed concept of that time, was a myth.
The campaign to adopt a skull runs until December 31.
Learn more about the fascinating Mutter Museum by visiting their website.