The National Museum of Health and Medicine is located in Washington D.C and has made it to the top five of my American roadtrip destinations list.
This curious government-owned institution houses a vast collection of freakish delights.
Here is a review of the Museum from the team at roadsideamerica.com.
"The teenagers get it. Squeals of "EEYOUUU!" and "YUCK" echo among the tall glass displays as yet another generation discovers a giant tumor or the stomach-shaped hairball. Just a typical day at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, America's oldest taxpayer-funded Cabinet of Curiosities.
Things have changed a bit since our last visit. The chorus line of baby skeletons is still visible from across the lobby, part of a gallery on fetal development and birth defects (though the specimens are less graphic than what you find at the Mutter Museum).
The Presidential display includes the bullet that killed Lincoln, and bits and pieces of the assassinated President, and the "life mask" plaster molds of his head and hands (there's another set on display in the basement of Ford's Theater).
There are medical education oddities, such as the hopelessly inaccurate 18th century anatomical models from Japan. An area on Civil War medicine photographically chronicles early attempts at plastic surgery on soldiers who had lost half their faces to bullet and shrapnel wounds.
A wax head of a 19th century sailor with a barnacle-encrusted nose demands your attention. "Sailor addicted to excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco," reads the sign. "Rhynophyma," colloquially known as "brandy nose." It's really disgusting.
The mummified head of a Kentucky girl -- an image that will chase you into fitful dreams -- is out of "storage" and back on display in an exhibit titled "Research Matters: Environmental and Toxicological Effects of Arsenic."
The two most popular exhibits are the hairball and the leg bone. The hairball is a crowd pleaser -- a 12-year old girl compulsively ate her own hair; fortunately, someone had presence of mind to preserve the gastronomic mess.
The leg bone is that of Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, displayed along with the 12-pound cannonball similar to the one that shattered it at Gettysburg in 1863. "For many years he visited the museum on the anniversary of its amputation." [part of our "Hello to Arms" tour]