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Morbid Curiosities

skullThe Morbid Anatomy Museum will explore "the intersection of art, science, death and beauty," reports Anne Machalinski in The Wall Street Journal (1/6/14). Among its exhibits are a "two-headed duckling … a full human skeleton" and "pickled snakes and mice." It also features "hundreds of items in Joanna Ebenstein‘s … personal collection of taxidermy, anatomical art and ephemera," that previously were on display at the Morbid Anatomy Library. It may reach a wider audience when it moves to new digs – 4,800 square-feet over three floors – in April.

The museum will debut with a "look at the life and work of Walter Potter, an anthropomorphic taxidermist," with subsequent exhibitions focused "on death masks or the connection between theology and renaissance science." Other items include "Santa Muerte figurines, Korean kokdu dolls and wax models depicting serious disfigurements." The goal is to find that which would otherwise "fall between the cracks," or that "can’t easily be classified as science or art or religion."

"You’re not going to go to the Met and see what we’re planning on showing you," says Tracy Hurley Martin, the museum’s chief executive. Joanna found her passion for death and beauty while "traveling throughout Europe to photograph medical museums," which inspired her to start the Morbid Anatomy blog in 2007. This connected her to "a community of like-minded people," her founding of a library where she "started a lecture and workshop series." The Morbid Anatomy Museum will find its home in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and include "lecture areas, a café and gift shop."