The Museum has a vast collection of medical instruments, from the smallest suture needle to a massive Iron Lung. Some of these tools represent important milestones in the history of medicine, such as the carbolic spray apparatus invented by Sir Joseph Lister, the father of modern antiseptics, and a replica of the first-ever obstetric forceps invented by Peter Chamberlen in the 17th century. 

For millennia it was thought that all illnesses were caused by an imbalance in the body’s humors (blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm). We have many instruments designed for bleeding or purging a body of excess fluids to restore the humoral balance. 

In November 2013 we opened an exhibition called A Stitch in Spine Saves Nine: Innovations in Spinal Surgery. It focuses on minimally invasive spinal surgery and highlights several late 20th-century laparoscopic instruments.

The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

  • 19 S 22nd Street
  • Philadelphia, PA 19103
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  • Monday through Sunday
  • 10am–5pm
  • We are closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25 and January 1