The Wagner Free Institute, Philadelphia

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As much as I loved the Mütter Museum, my favourite part of my time in downtown Philadelphia was actually the Wagner Free Institute of Science. It’s a Victorian science museum that’s been largely untouched since 1891, except for the occasional necessary restoration(like the one ongoing for the entomology collection, after a dermestid beetle infestation in the 1990s).

It’s basically cabinets upon cabinets of meticulous, systematically organized, specimens and lots of old taxidermy, some of which is maybe not particularly great(part of the charm, really).

An interesting note, Joseph Leidy was also the person who exhumed/discovered the Soap Lady’s body at the Mütter Museum. He’s a pretty big deal, and is considered the father of american vertebrate paleontology…but I still don’t feel bad calling him a hottie, because he sort of was.

It’s honestly difficult to capture how beautiful the place is, so here is a picture(theirs – the no photography rule is very strict).

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More on the Wagner Free Institute on their website and on Atlas Obscura.

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