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Visiting the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn: Medical anatomy wax statues & Library of Oddities.

morbid anatomy museum entrance

If you’re a fan of Oddities (the Discovery / Science TV show that I appeared in) — then I’m sure you are dying (get it?) to visit the Morbid Anatomy Museum in New York! 

Housed in Brooklyn, this collection of strange medical wonders is dedicated to “the intersections of death, beauty and that which falls between the cracks.” 

goth taxidermy magazine

The Morbid Anatomy Museum also has an extensive research library. It’s open for anyone to browse (in a devilish mix of “Guilt and Pleasure”!)

oddities museum nyc

The two-floor museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions on display.

My friends and I saw the House of Wax: Anatomical, Pathological, and Ethnographical Waxworks from Castan’s Panopticum (Berlin, 1869-1922). It’s curated by Ryan Matthew Cohn of TV’s “Oddities.” 

Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, New York

Yukiro, Jenny, Hiten and I couldn’t resist lining up on the staircase for this dramatic shot!

  • UPDATE: the Morbid Anatomy Museum has closed, RIP. Check their website for any updates.

weird museums new york city

The exhibits and library are open from 12-6pm, every day except Tuesday. Admission fees, tickets and event announcements are found on their site.

oddities bookstore, antique shop

Yukiro and I began our visit with a snack and coffee at the museum cafe. So many curiosities to see in the lower level gift shop.

(I’m wearing a faux fur coat from Alice’s Pig, an urban vintage-inspired clothing line from London).

morbid anatomy anthology book

I was enthralled by the Morbid Anatomy Anthology (edited by Joanna Ebenstein), a 500 page tome with lavish full color illustrations. I flipped through essays about demonic children and corpses.

(On a cuter note, my Scottish Fold rings are by PuraBobo. The designer custom-made them to look like my round yellow cat).

occult witch nail art, nails

My spooky-occult nail art fit in with the theme of the day. (They’re by Glam Nail Studio; lots of nail art inspiration photos are on their Facebook.)

new york city bizarre, strange

Yukiro looks like one of the gift store curiosities, with undead makeup and a monster-claw scarf.

taxidermy animals nyc

Curiosities lurked all around the Morbid Anatomy cafe and shop. We spotted taxidermy mice in a Ferris wheel, and mysterious creatures preserved in jars.

(Perhaps these objects remind you of the ones found at Obscura Antiques in NYC. If you aren’t familiar with the TV series Oddities, you’ve got to watch episodes here.)

creepy medical wax figures

The Morbid Anatomy project is supported by scholars worldwide. Many have lent out their private collections, and anyone is welcome to donate a curiosity to the library.

The museum also has a Scholars in Residence program. Currently, the posts are held by Evan Michelson of Obscura Antiques and Oddities, and writer Salvador Olguín who specializes in death in Mexico.

anatomical museum brooklyn

We chatted with curator Spencer, who spoke with passion about the waxworks on display. You can tell that we’re hanging on to his every word, as he describes the eerie history of the Berlin Panopticum!

medical wax faces

Spencer explained that these panoptica were used in Europe from the 18th to early 20th century. Back then, medical knowledge was difficult to share. Artisans created these anatomical wax figures in order to preserve information of diseases and procedures. (Above are reproductions of horrific skin pathologies.)

historic wax medical bodies

We felt like we were descending into uncanny valley, as we examined these life-like bodies. Some had exposed organs and fake hair, with fetuses peering out.

wax heads horror effects

Talk about a cabinet of curiosities! We’re posing with a case of death masks, featuring murderers and celebrities.

Other wax busts showed people of different races, and performers that they considered “freaks.”

pregnancy dolls, giving birth

Some of the wax specimens only showed body parts, with disembodied hands lurking about. I think this is an example of how not to use forceps to deliver a baby…

This exhibit’s run has been extended, so you can still see it now. Appropriately, my shirt is by Disturbia – they make this outstanding Ouija board Goth shirt as well.)

weirdest museum, medical anatomy

Some of the artifacts were graphic, and you might feel disturbed by what you see. However, my friends and I adore collections like this one (the Mutter medical museum in Philly is another must-visit).

These anatomical waxes are a fascinating part of our history, and a forgotten method of sharing findings. These objects were originally meant to be private medical tools, but now we can look at them with a critical and even artistic eye.

morbid anatomy library

We could have spent hours in the next room, a treasure trove of bizarre objects. Founded in 2008, The Morbid Anatomy Library contains thousands of books, ephemera, creepy art and other rarities.

goth emo boy shrine

This counter sums up what you’ll find here: dentures, religious candles, Day of the Dead skeletons, and a shrine to a Goth Emo boy! 

museum of medical oddities

Visitors are encouraged to pick up the objects. We couldn’t resist doing a tribute to “see, speak and hear no evil.” Jenny is holding strips of teeth, and I’m listening to a gorilla footprint.

human anatomy museum

Inspector Yukiro is on the hunt! The room is full of clues about how cultures worldwide represent death and the supernatural. 

death candles, broken dolls

For those of you with a dark disposition, Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum cannot be missed. On their site, you’ll find announcements for upcoming openings and lectures.

visit morbid anatomy museum tickets

I dare you to take a funny photo on the stairs like we did! (Photos by Joey Wong.)

PS: for more New York alt-travel suggestions — including clubs, clothing stores and restaurants — check out my NYC Gothic guides here.

SHARE & COMMENT

  • sara
  • Suz

    One of those places I’ve long wanted to visit!!

  • Yukiro

    Horror passion ! Scandalous fashion!

  • Rhea

    This is amazing and one of the many reasons I’m a fan of @lacarmina :)

  • Abernathu

    She shares all things weird and wonderful as she travels, i DIG IT

  • Jasper Barth

    GREAT stuff in Brooklyn.

  • NB

    ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  • Samantha

    I miss Oddities :/

  • Nat

    This is bombtastic.
    Nat

  • Cheei

    Bizarre and beautiful.

  • CDIo

    Scary in the day.

  • Angelia

    The Morbid Anatomy museum has closed down now :(