Anatomy Freakshow!

One of our great new neighbors here in Washington D.C. is the fabulous National Museum of Health and Medicine, a treasure trove of weird and gross bodily goodies we had the good fortune to explore yesterday. Stomach enjoyed looking at the stomach-shaped hairball trapped inside the stomach of a 12-year-old girl who ate her own hair! Kidney enjoyed looking at his diseased renal pals, suspended forever in lucite. Other highlights -- the skeleton of a man with anklyosing spondylitis, a form of severe arthritis which makes your bones fuse together, who spent the last few years of his life fused to a chair; a disturbing wax recreation of a dissected infant, with placenta (I took a photo, but it's too gross to post); and a nasty-looking leg in a giant jar! My toddler was more interested in pitching a fit about wanting snacks ("My brain is hunnngry, mommy!"), models of hospital ships, and touching the plastinated hearts and brains and a real human  skeleton hand some of the lovely ladies who work there let us hold and touch. The museum is hosting a special Valentine's Day program where you can make your own anatomically correct heart valentine's, fondle real plastinated human hearts and other fun matters of the coronary. The museum is relocating in September 2011, so the next few months offer the last chance to see the museum in all its mid-century modern glory (awesome Barcelona benches, fabulous modernist brass fittings, metal san-serif fonts, etc.). Best of all -- the place is not crowded and you can park -- literally -- in front of the museum. The specimens of fetuses with birth defects will make your skin crawl! Creepy and great!

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