BOOK REVIEW -- Heads Up! A Book for Happy Müttering


Heads Up! A Book for Happy Müttering

Oddly enough, it's a delight

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, AIR staff

The long-awaited book about the magnificent Mütter Museum

Of the world's great museums, the Mütter Museum is often treated as a guilty pleasure, to be shared only with the most treasured of medically sophisticated friends. It is one of our (we being Humanity as a whole) few remaining carefully tended storehouses of medical wonders. It is a repository of the unusual, a heady place of extremes in human anatomy, all carefully preserved, lovingly displayed, and beaming -- as only quiet, deadpan reality can -- with the deepest, darkest, most enlightening humor known to man, woman, child, or portions thereof. This is the body part as literature.

Gretchen Worden, the Mütter Museum's cürator, who is herself an internationally mordant treasure, long ago created the annual Mütter Museum Calendar, a photographer and medico's delight which sadly has come to the end of its long run. But in place of what would have been the 2003 calendar comes something even better -- a book containing much of the flavor that one can find only in the old calendars and, or course, in the Mütter Museum itself.

If you visit Philadelphia (or if you live in Philadelphia), by all means get yourself to the Mütter Museum. But if you can't get there, or can't get there soon, at least get yourself a copy of this book. It will get your heart a-thumping, and make you the envy of all catch sight of it.

AIR RECOMMENDATION: This book makes a good present to bring to your doctor next time you get a check-up, to ensure that your doctor attends to you as a worthy friend.

Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, by Gretchen Worden, 192 pages, Blast Books; 2002, ISBN: 0922233241

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