After my visit to Eastern State Penitentiary, I figured I should hit a few more sites in Philadelphia while I was there. First stop was the Rocky statue and associated famous steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This was a simple drive-by just to say I’ve seen it. Of course you know my observational skills by now, so it took me 3 trips around the traffic circle before I spotted the super obvious statue with a large crowd of people standing around it. Hey in my defense I expected it to be at the top of the stairs, not at the bottom and off to the side. Next stop after Rocky was the Mutter Museum. This is that place where they have all those medical oddities in jars.
Getting to the Mutter Museum proved to be a bit of a challenge. I learned something on that drive; Google Maps has a horrible lag in tracking you. I have no idea how many times I looped that traffic circle in front of the Museum of Art. Around and around I went with Google Maps in a never-ending babble telling me to take the turn I just passed. I finally gave up and just took a random turn out of the circle, only for Google Maps to take me 2 miles down the road, turn me around, and take me back to that bloody traffic circle! Look kids, Rocky… Art Museum… Arrgh!!!!
I’m not sure how I did it, but I eventually wound up at the Mutter Museum. Street parking was found easily about 2 blocks away. Paying for said parking was a different matter entirely. There was one of those muni-meter type kiosks where you pay and get a ticket to put on your dashboard. It showed it accepted NFC payments, so I tapped my phone, and tapped, and tapped, and nothing happened. Next I pulled out a credit card and shoved it in the slot, it says processing, then tells me to remove the card, then says transaction cancelled. Maybe the machine is unable to read this card, so I try with another card. Same result. Great, now I’ve probably had two cards skimmed and will shortly be the new owner of a large screen TV… or at least be the new payer for one!
I decide to try paper money. The machine says it takes $1, $5, $10, $20. Oh no, I’m not falling for that one again like I did in the NYC subway! You get singles or you get nothing. The machine picked the Nothing option. Ugh. I ended up going through a stack of singles multiple times but all I could get it to take was a total of three. That only gets me two hours so I guess I have to make the Mutter Museum quick.
I’m walking the few blocks over to the Mutter Museum and I see this guy walking towards me. As he gets right next to me he says “Hey there gorgeous.” I smile and reply, “aww, thanks!” He just stared at me awkwardly as I noticed the phone in his hand. Talk about going from 100 to 0 in the blink of an eye.
I’m finally at the Mutter Museum and as I entered the guy at the door says “admission is free if you get an HIV test.” Hey, free is for me, so sure, why not. I already know I’m clean so no worries. If I’m not clean someone has some explaining to do because I know where I’ve been. He points me over to a table with an HIV test sign. I tell them I’m game and they inform me it will be about a 20 minute wait. But I only have two hours on the meter, less now that I’ve walked here and had my ego trashed not actually being called gorgeous. So I tell the nice girl at the desk I’m going to have to pass and pay instead.
Turns out the admission is $18. I double check my time rethinking the wait on the HIV test. I’m down to an hour forty five, lose 20 on the test, and I’m not going to have enough time for the museum. Now I’m even more annoyed at that parking meter. Why couldn’t it just take my singles like a co-ed paying her way through med school.
As I enter the exhibits area I spot a tall sign of a skeleton with an Instagram logo that says “hashtag us” with their preferred hashtag. Cool beans, I’ll be happy to help the cause. I step into the first room and there is a cool body of a soap woman. That’s exactly what the name implies, just grosser. A woman decayed into a giant body of soap. I pull out my phone to snap a photo and a guard yells at me “No photography” and points to a sign saying absolutely no photography. What exactly did they want me to hashtag on Instagram then? They know Instagram is a photography thing right?
I paid for this?
The Mutter Museum is supposed to be a bunch of medical oddities. It is. Sort of. Ok, technically yes, it is fully of medical oddities. Unfortunately, a large number of those are wax sculptures of such. There are so many wax sculptures that you lose faith the ones not marked as wax are real. I might as well be at a freaky art gallery.
In addition, they have very old cabinets, with very old plate glass. If you have ever looked through old plate glass you probably noticed how it easily distorts things if you are not looking straight through the pane. Combine this with a number of their display tags use a tiny font and you find that you can’t actually read most of the stuff. You have to press your face to the glass and look straight ahead.
Now throw in a large crowd of people. All of these people are pressing their faces to the glass to read the tags, which means there is no room for me to do it. This means I can’t read half of what is in the cabinets. But that’s ok, because this place made sure to jam displays right up against each other. This means there is also no room to get around said people with their faces pressed up against the glass. Oh, and I guess they had a lot of people doing the free admission route and had to save money, because they seemed to have shut off the AC.
I’m making my way around two floors of display cases full of artist recreations of what this medical issue probably should look like, in 100 degree air, trying to squeeze past smelly sweaty patrons. After completing both floors, and realizing there was nothing else to see, I headed back out to the lobby. I get now why they had a no photography rule, the same reason PT Barnum wouldn’t have allowed it. No transferable evidence!
Look, I’m not telling you NOT to go to the Mutter Museum. In fact, unless you are squeamish, if you are in the area, and either have the $18 to spare or better can get in free or discounted due to some deal, then stop in. It actually had some fascinating things to look at and was fairly interesting. I’d just advise you not to go on a Saturday as it is too crowded. In their defense, they do have several signs before you have to pay that warn you Saturdays are their busy day and it will be crowded.
On my way out I grabbed a picture of their sign and the front of the building. That’s when I noticed the clock on my phone. I had an hour left on the meter. I wonder if I can get my money back if I sit for the HIV test now.