While most people think of cheesesteaks and the Phillies when the subject of Philadelphia comes up, the city also has many quirky attractions available to explore.
1. Art Project or…
At the Drexel University College of Medicine’s East Falls campus, there is an interesting string art display in the shape of a person. Sorry to go all Criminal Minds on you, but the string art isn’t actually art at all. It’s a real person. The display is the actual dissected nervous system of a college cleaning woman who who donated her body to science in 1888. The story gets even stranger as the school’s foremost anatomy professor at the time spent FIVE months removing every piece of bone and flesh from the body before wrapping each strand of the nervous system in gauze and preserving it using paint and shellac. Yikes. 2900 W. Queen Lane, Philadelphia PA
2. Historical Dental Museum
If you hate going to the dentist, the masochist in you might appreciate the Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Weaver III Historical Dental Museum. Visitors can marvel (or stare in horror, whatever the case may be) at old-fashioned dental drills, chairs, X-ray machines, furnaces, photos and even a recreated Victorian office. The stories of more than 150 years of dentistry will be told through artifacts donated by the Temple University School of Dentistry.
3. East Coast Alcatraz?
A strange 19th-century black granite structure, the size of a city block towers stands high-above an otherwise perfectly normal Fairmount neighborhood. What is it? Believe it or not, the building is the vacated Eastern State Penitentiary. Abandoned in 1971, the prison held the likes of notorious criminals like Al Capone and “Slick” Willie. While the exterior appears menacing in and of itself, the former prison is also available for tours where you can see its death row, hospital, dining hall and synagogue. 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia PA
Photo courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary
Photo by J. Smith for GPTMC