This month’s Science on Tap is all about how physicians, resurrectionists, and organ collectors skirted the law in the 19th century to do their own bidding. Back in the day, Philadelphia had a lot going on in terms of medical needs due to the Civil War, creating a demand for medical schools. Wanting to do research, these medical schools had a need for cadavers, but the law wasn’t allowing said schools to obtain as many bodies as they needed. That’s when things started to get…let’s say, a tad bit unethical.
You’ll hear four stories of the bizarre practices of those in the Philadelphia medical field, including the one-eyed horse thief, a “petrified body” being donated to a museum, anonymous brain specimens, and more tales that raised questions about their origins.
Your host this month is the wonderful Evi Numen–artist, independent researcher, and curator from Athens, Greece. She received her Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from the Univeristy of Pennsylvania, and has held the position of Exhibitions Manager at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia since 2009. Numen has organized, designed and installed multiple exhibitions at the Mütter Museum as well as curated their contemporary medical-themed art shows. She is the founder and curator of www.thanatography.com, an online exhibition of contemporary mourning art. In her spare time, Numen volunteers as a death midwife and hospice worker.
Science on Tap is a monthly science cafe at National Mechanics with rotating hosts and speakers on the second Monday of each month. The event features a presentation by a local expert followed by a lively discussion.
Science on Tap: Body-snatching, Organ Collecting, and Fraud in 19th Century Philadelphia
Monday, July 11 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
National Mechanics, 22 S 3rd Street