Visiting the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia

skeleton with arm raised

If you’re looking for a unique and educational homeschool field trip option in Philadelphia, the Mutter Museum should be on your list of places to consider visiting!

Growing up, I would spend hours reading books. Although I read my fair share of chapter books (shout out to Ann M. Martin!), I also enjoyed reading about medical anomalies and all things considered spooky and curious. It was all so interesting to me!

When I was young and dating my husband, some many moons ago, I somehow found out about the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. It sounded right up my alley of interests, so I (obviously) had to plan a visit!

Long story short, we visited the Philadelphia museum and found it so interesting that, all these years later, decided that we needed to go back so our kids could experience the Mutter Museum, too!

Whether you’re in the throes of planning a long-distance homeschool field trip to the City of Brotherly love or live within driving distance of Philly (like us!), visiting the Mutter Museum should totally be on your list of “things to do.”

About the Mutter Museum

Described as “America’s finest museum of medical history,” the Mutter Museum has a collection of over 35,000 medical tools, specimens (yes! Actual human specimens!), models, and more within its walls. A large portion of that collection is on display and they do host limited-time exhibits as well.

Since the content can be considered disturbing & mature to some (many?), this museum is recommended for ages 10 and up. Of course, you know your kids best! If they’re younger than 10, I say “go for it!”

We visited when my kids were 8 and 10. They learned a ton and did just fine with the material that was on display.

Dukart boys standing in front of the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia
Due to the sensitive nature of the content inside the Mutter Museum, photos are not allowed. We did get this cute photo at the entrance, though!

Visiting the Mutter Museum

The Mutter Museum is located at 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. The don’t have a parking lot specifically for the museum, but there are nearby paid parking lots if you prefer to drive your vehicle into the city.

If you’re not a fan of city driving (like me!), or if you like to include some public transportation experience into your visit to the museum (also me!), the Mutter Museum is easily accessible by both the PATCO and SEPTA trains and busses.

Local tip: take the PATCO if you’re traveling from South Jersey and use SEPTA if/when you’re traveling in Pennsylvania.

If visiting the Mutter Museum in person just isn’t possible, or if you want to preview the content beforehand, their YouTube channel is a great resource!

When planning your Philadelphia field trip to the Mutter Museum, keep in mind that they are currently requiring reservations and are limiting the number of visitors per hour/day.

Admission prices for general admittance vary depending on age. If you’re planning on visiting with a group of friends or in a group of 10 or more, you might consider scheduling a group visit with a tour!

If you are local, I definitely suggest checking your local public library for museum passes! Borrowing museum passes from our library is one of our favorite ways to make homeschool travel affordable and, somehow, seems to be a library feature lots aren’t aware of.

Our Experience Visiting the Mutter Museum

Our experience visiting the Mutter Museum was awesome! I was worried that the content might be a little too mature for my kids, but, since they love watching medical shows and learning about the body, I figured it was worth a try to take them.

And, I’m so glad that I decided to do that!

Once we were admitted into the museum (yay for free library passes!), everyone first made a stop at the bathrooms. Every family does that, right?

After we got “business” taken care of, we wandered around the first floor of the museum a bit. We got to see an actual set of Iron Lungs and see a number of other historical medical artifacts before we walked through something of a medical art exhibit across the hall.

photograph of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia sign
So wild to think that our nation’s founding fathers probably walked right by this building!

Upstairs, though? After walking up a grand staircase? That’s where the meat and potatoes of the Mutter Museum is.

In the main area, there are thousands of medical specimens tucked away in wooden cabinets with glass doors. If I was able to have the entire museum to myself, I have no doubt that I could spend all day looking at the collection.

There are specimens preserved in glass jars. There are bones and skeletons showing all sorts of medical diagnosis and abnormalities. When we went, there was even a full wall of skulls…each with a small, handwritten note describing the age and sex of the “skull owner” as well as the cause & year of death.

On the second floor, there was even a walk-through exhibit that touched on plagues and illnesses and was extremely relevant due to the events of 2020 and beyond.

Walk down another set of steps from the second floor and you’ll see even more of the Mutter Museum collection.

In all, we probably spent about an hour and a half walking through, looking at and reading notes throughout the displays. If the kids weren’t “starving,” I bet we could’ve stayed even longer!

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Learning at the Mutter Museum

Before you take your homeschool field trip, definitely check out all the (free) educational resources that Mutter Museum has on their library! They have a printable scavenger hunt and a variety of free lesson plans that go along with the content of the museum. So cool, right?

I really can’t wait to go back to the Mutter Museum with the boys. Since they have rotating exhibits, there’s always something new to see and learn about.

If you have any questions about visiting the Mutter Museum, leave a comment below or email me and I’ll do what I can to help out!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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