Monday, January 15, 2007

Like Mother, Like Freak

If Peanut had her way, we would be putting the house on the market right now in order to move to Philadelphia so that Big Daddy and I could get jobs at museums so that she could spend every day in them.

We didn't get to see as much of the city as I had hoped, but we still got to the important stuff.

First up was the Mütter Museum, with Uncle Carlos. Before the emphasis on biochemistry in medicine, medical students were primarily taught gross anatomy, and most medical colleges had a collection of this kind. Using wax models, drawings, and real samples, students were taught medicine. Collections of skulls of people from all over the world (used at the time to study ethnic differences, among other things), a wax model of the arm of someone with leprosy, the tracing of the hand of a man with acromegaly. This sort of thing has always fascinated me, even more so now that I have a child who would have been the subject of a museum exhibit 150 years ago. We took Peanut, because, well, she likes that sort of thing too. She was proudly pointing out the lungs and heart on a drawing of body organs, and exclaimed at one point, "Let's go see the skeletons!" I was able to explain immunizations to her with a little more interest on her part when she could see not only old newspaper cartoons of Dr. Jenner scratching a baby's arm, but more recent pictures of smallpox victims.

She'll either grow up to be a doctor or a serial killer.

Even the most ghoulish of toddlers can only take so much of the cramped, crowded quarters of the Mütter (it was insanely busy--who knew so many people were freaks like us?), so Big Daddy rescued her and took her to the Please Touch Museum, where she would happily live for all eternity. If I could, I would let her. This was so much more accessible to her than the children's museum in Madison, and she had a ball. It had a ramp up to the second floor, and ramps into some of the exhibits, for example. The place has a full child-sized supermarket, including deli, pastry case, stockroom, and coffee break area, for crying out loud. She spent four hours there, and would have played until she fell asleep with her head on the train table.

I tried to get a cheesesteak, I really did, but Big Daddy had a college friend from Philly who insisted you could only get the good ones at certain places and Big Daddy didn't know where those places were, so he wouldn't cooperate. I found this irritating because we could have found out where to go before we left if I would have known he was going to be a cheesesteak snob, but oh well. Instead I ate pizza twice and a breakfast sandwich once, so I got my grease allotment in anyway.

From what I saw of it, I like Philly quite a bit. I wish we had a reason to visit it again and explore a bit more.


Kelly O said...

I LOVE the Mutter! I especially love the drawers that catalog objects pulled from people's noses. (Ahem. Delurking to let my freak-flag fly....)

Dana said...

no cheesesteak!!!

loser grrl... :)

gary will be very disappointed

elizasmom said...

That museum sounds AWESOME! If I ever get to Philly, that is definitely going to be on my list of things to see.
And I didn't have a chance to comment on your last post, but, YAY! Good news for Peanut!

Meredith said...

You are so making me miss Philly, the most favorite place I have ever lived! You know the other name for the Please Touch museum is "Please give my kid an ear infection."

Natalie said...

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Mutter Museum. I believe it has moved since I was last there. My med school class had its Match Day party at the Mutter Museum. We had such a great time, and it was the perfect setting for a bunch of insane, drunk, and mostly happy med students. My favorite was the megacolon. The end-of-the-year party my internship year was at the Franklin Institute, a fine child-friendly place.

The best cheesesteaks are at The White House in Atlantic City, so you missed nothing.