Archive for museums

La Specola Anatomical Collection

Posted in anatomy, antiques, destinations, museums with tags , , , on January 17, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

La Specola Anatomical Collection is on my list of top destinations if I ever make it to Europe.


La Specola is part of the Museum of Natural History in Florence and contains perhaps the largest (and best known) collection of antique anatomical models. It began as the personal collection of the Medici family, and opened in 1775 to the public.


According to Atlas Obscura the museum “also houses some wonderful taxidermy, including now extinct specimens and a very questionable-looking hippopotamus.”

I obviously can’t hear the term “questionable-looking hippopotamus” without being deeply intrigued.


Of particular note is the presence of anatomical Venuses…idealized female forms with their insides exposed. These medical models were a valued educational tool, but evoke all kinds of emotion with their brilliant, uncanny craftsmanship. Some look dead, some look as if they’ve been skinned alive. Others are semi-erotic.


Have any of you visited La Specola?


La Specola Anatomical Collection


The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians

Posted in alchemy, destinations, exhibits, museums with tags , , , on January 26, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

I’ve always wanted to visit Prague, and on my list of attractions in the area is The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians.


Oh hey, little feline buddy! Cats and all, this is my kind of alchemy lab. Let’s take a tiny peek inside, shall we?

According to the website, here, you can look under the lids of bowls of emperor Rudolf’s alchemists. At first you will immerse in the wisdom texts of the alchemists, alchemy and personalities associated with alchemy, whether the alchemists themselves, or unexpected examples as Charles IV or William Shakespeare.


You are going to walk through a magical room of the Faust´s house and then, subtly initiated, you will climb the spiral of life up to the sky. By the „spiral of life“ we mean the spiral staircase bulit by Kelley in the 16th century, and almost in heaven, in the attic between the beams from the times of Rudolf II, you will find the authentic atmosphere of the laboratory of one of the most famous alchemists of Rudolphine times, the master Edward Kelley, who lived in this house.



I have a sneaking suspicion that at least part of my house will look exactly like the picture below about 10 years from now. That’s the direction it’s heading. I’m not a hoarder (no really!)…I’m an aspiring alchemist.

I will, however, stop short of emblazoning giant glyphs on my floor. Ceilings, of course, are fair game.

There is also an alchemical lab PUB on the premises! Click to enlarge photo (Formulas on the walls! Glorious!).

The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians

The Pitt Rivers of Oxford

Posted in destinations, museums, oddities with tags , , on August 18, 2013 by shewalkssoftly

Morbid Anatomy has an amazing post about The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford’s collection of anthropology and world archaeology.


I’m nearly tipsy from the mere act of looking at these sample pictures. One day, I will visit. It will be my version of hiking a long journey…I’ll bring water bottles and bags of trail mix.


See some more photos here.
The Pitt Rivers Museum

Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.

19th Century Wax Anatomical “Half and Half” Models

Posted in anatomy, antiques, destinations, exhibits, medicine, museums, oddities, science, sculpture with tags , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by shewalkssoftly

How I wish I could visit the Science Museum of London to see these incredible wax anatomical figures, originally created circa 1810-1830.


The Brain Museum, Lima

Posted in anatomy, destinations, museums, science with tags , , , on February 21, 2012 by shewalkssoftly

A remote street in Lima, Peru houses the largest collection of brain specimens in Latin America.

[The] collection contains over 3,000 examples of damaged brains and fetuses, displaying abnormalities caused by an array of neurological diseases, psychiatric disorders, and substance abuse damage.

The purpose of the museum is to educate neurology students about a vast array of pathologies, but it is also open to the public.

The modestly-sized museum is packed with morbid examples of stroke, Alzheimer’s, tumors and trichinosis, but the star of the show is the Creutzfeld-Jacob disease specimen, commonly known as the human strain of mad cow disease.


Desktop Goodies 8/30

Posted in absurd, advertising, art, Books, comics, creatures, humor, museums, retro, sci-fi, sea, vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2011 by shewalkssoftly

Let me preface this by saying I have not had Internet for four days due to Hurricane Irene. My entire town and surrounding areas are still without it and we don’t know when it (or other media/communications) will be restored. I feel VERY lucky to have electricity right now. I drove to the closest place I could find to get online for a moment, and will try to do so again as soon as possible. In the meantime…

This made my day, because outside of saying it myself I’ve never seen the phrase “Zoologically incorrect”…and it’s a favorite.


Another unsettling Peek-a-Boo:

Think about this next time someone uses the fine colloquialism “He/she’ll have my head on a platter!”

This actually got printed:

You might be living in an insane, surrealist dictatorship if your “Dear Leader” is plastered on boxes of tongue scrapers…and walks by to inspect them for quality.


Go ahead Betty…one Business Casual Angel Donut won’t hurt…


The comic panel of my life (books rule!):

The female of this species probably takes a ages doing her makeup in the morning.

And speaking of other species…we will never be as awesome as this guy…

I’ll leave you with this, folks…

The Traveling Elvis Museum and Chapel of Love

Posted in craft, exhibits, installations, kitsch, museums with tags , , , , on June 25, 2011 by shewalkssoftly

I’ve been meaning to post about The Elvis Mobile for ages now.

This amazing vehicle is the brainchild and handiwork of two of the coolest people I’ve ever met: Jo David and Marlow Harris, of Unusual Life.

It started as a simple whim (Marlow presented a sketch as a joke…Jo made it happen), and there’s nothing I love more than when whims become reality.

See guys? If you can dream it up…you can do it! It just take a little elbow grease, and the occasional VW van.

This mini museum on wheels is a functional shrine, chapel, and brilliantly executed kitsch masterpiece (available for events upon request!).

Read an article about the museum’s creation here.

You can follow the adventures of the Traveling Elvis Mobile here and see a large photo gallery on facebook.

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

Posted in destinations, museums, oddities, vintage with tags , , , on April 7, 2011 by shewalkssoftly

If I’m ever in Michigan, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum will be on my itinerary.

“Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is known from coast to coast, like butter and toast. From headlines to bedlines, from school rooms to pool rooms, this place is like no other that can be found in the contiguous United States and other environs of the free world.”

The museum contains items of magic, neon, antiques, posters, airplanes, robots, animation, and all sorts of odd and unusual coin operated games. The coin operated games are the main attraction, and range from the oldest gypsy fortune telling machine of the early 1900’s, to the lastest video games. All the games are operational.

There is so much fun stuff to explore on the website alone…I can only imagine how interesting it would be in person!

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

House on the Rock

Posted in antiques, automata, candy coated nightmares, destinations, ephemera, museums, oddities, puppets, steampunk, vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by shewalkssoftly

I have never wanted to hop a plane to Wisconsin so badly in my life. I absolutely must visit the House on the Rock.

I’m going to be honest. I can’t write detailed descriptions of all the rooms in this place, because I WILL impulsively buy a plane ticket I can’t afford…and we don’t want that, now do we?

However, I will direct you to this fantastic post that describes the house in more detail.

Antiques, oddities, puppets, monsters, instruments, specimens, props, masks, machines, weapons, books, carnival and sideshow relics…enough to make one’s head explode in the most delightful way.

A wise friend recently pointed out a common thread in my preferences: a penchant for intensely created little worlds full of unique vision. I think this place is a perfect example. I like to be sensually overwhelmed, immersed in creativity, history, the carefully crafted extremes of madness and entertainment. Places that collect the bizarre fringes of human invention never fail to fascinate me.

Each bit of ephemera tells a story…stories run through my head with every picture I see…

Time to count the change in my jar and save up for that ticket…

Official site

The International Cryptozoology Museum

Posted in antiques, creatures, exhibits, food, museums, oddities with tags , , , , , , on June 21, 2010 by shewalkssoftly

Last week, I had the opportunity for an impromptu trip to the city of Portland, Maine. First stop: International Cryptozoology Museum

The museum is tucked in the back of The Green Hand bookstore, which in itself is a fantastic place to visit. There’s a wonderful selection of used books and interesting artifacts. This taxidermy gentleman greets you upon arrival:

I enjoyed keeping my eyes peeled, and coming across things like this bony fellow on the couch.

With renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman (who is truly the expert in this field) as our guide, we explored some fun and fascinating artifacts.

Museum items included specimens, bones, taxidermy, molded casts, replicas, pop culture renditions of various cryptids, video footage and movie props.

I was a fan of the Mothman display case.

The museum also covered notorious creature hoaxes and fakes, which was a wonderful addition (and in my opinion, a necessary one when presenting the subject matter).

And on our way out, we saw this plate in the parking lot…

I recommend stopping by the museum if you are ever in the Portland area. Loren has a ton of interesting things to share and has amassed quite a collection.

After the museum, I had my heart set on going to Duckfat for authentic Poutine (Belgian style fries, cheese curds, duck gravy). I was not disappointed.