Mütter Museum

Mütter Museum

by Gretchen Worden

"This is a book of hauntingly beautiful images. Only magnificent photographs like these can do justice to the uniqueness of the Mütter Museum, a place of wonder and an unparalleled collection that startles the imagination while it widens a visitor's sense of our shared humanity." — Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., author of How We Die

The aesthetics of the living body have long fascinated artists working in every medium of art. Mütter Museum presents the work of a distinguished group of photographers who have been drawn to explore the body stripped of its superficial coverings down to its inner realities. There is real beauty beneath the surface both in life, as revealed by the surgeon's scalpel, and in death, as revealed by the pathologist's or anatomist's knife.

Heart - Olivia Parker
Heart © 1994 Olivia Parker
The contemporary photographs in this book, combined with powerful images from the Museum's historical photography collection, stretch the boundaries to find beauty not in its conventional form, but in its opposite: the deformed, the broken, the disfigured body of those who suffered physical abnormality, trauma, or destructive disease. There is a terrifying beauty as well in the spirits of those who endured nature's challenges to human life and to medical understanding. The photographers whose works appear in the book are:

Shelby Lee Adams • Max Aguilera-Hellweg • Gwen Akin & Allan Ludwig • Candace diCarlo • Dale Gunnoe • Steven Katzman • Mark Kessell • Scott Lindgren • Olivia Parker • Rosamond Purcell • Richard Ross • Ariel Ruiz i Altaba • Harvey Stein • Arne Svenson • William Wegman • Joel-Peter Witkin

Gretchen Worden (1947-2004) began working at the Mütter Museum as Assistant to the Curator in 1975, became Acting Curator in 1980, Curator in 1982, and Director in 1988. She was active in the Philadelphia area museum community, having served as president of the Museum Council of Philadelphia, and was also a past president of the Medical Museum Association and a member of the European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences, among other associations. She gave many presentations on the Museum and related topics to medical and nonmedical groups and museum professionals, and she was a subject in Errol Morris's documentary film series First Person.

In Memoriam
Gretchen Worden (1947-2004) passed away on August 2, 2004, after a brief illness. We're proud to have published Mütter Museum with her. The book stands as a crowning achievement in her exemplary life. We're grateful too for our friendship with her for nearly two decades. She is deeply missed.


Photography • hardcover • 9 x 11" • 192 pages • 135 full-color images • $50.00 • ISBN:0-922233-24-1

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