The Mütter Museum is dedicated to improving the health of the public through its education programs, services, and resources.
Educational programs and lessons are available as part of field trips or in the classroom! See below for a list of some of what we offer. To find out more and to book a tour or lesson, visit The Mütter Museum website.
The Mütter Museum offers group tours led by experienced tour guides. A visit to the Museum offers a unique environment for students to learn about health and medicine.
In addition to a guided tour, you can enhance your group's visit with one of our thematic lessons. Lessons last 45 minutes and are designed to fulfill Pennsylvania state educational standards. All lessons take place onsite in The College of Physicians of Philadelphia's Koop Education Center and are led by an experienced museum educator.
Learn more about our Mütter Lessons...
- Antibiotic Resistance: Bacterial Battle Royale
- Body Modification
- Bone Detectives
- Botanical Medicine, Then and Now
- The Brain: More Than Just Gray Matter
- Civil War Medicine
- Comparative Skull Drawing
- Conjoined Twins (Together Forever…?)
- Defeating Disease
- The Five Senses
- Hip2Know: Sexually Transmitted Infections in Philadelphia
- The Science Behind the Sideshow
- Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia
- Spit Spreads Death: An Overview of Cold and Flu
- You Gotta Have Heart!
Antibiotic Resistance: Bacterial Battle Royale
Did you know that antibiotics are over-prescribed or misused roughly half the time? When antibiotics are used improperly, bacteria can develop resistances that can potentially put everyone at risk. This lesson introduces how antibiotics work and how bacteria evolve and develop resistances. Through a game-based activity where they assume the role of a bacterium, students learn how antibiotic resistances form and ways they can help reduce the risk.
National Health Education Standards: 7.8.1, 7.8.2, 7.8.3, 7.12.1, 7.12.2, 7.12.3
For thousands of years, humans have been changing their bodies. This lesson lets students explore body modifications from around the world, from foot binding to body piercing, from corsets to neck coils. Students observe museum objects not normally on display and learn about the health implications of common body modifications.
PA Standards Met: Health, Safety & Physical Education: 10.1.12B, 10.2.12B, 10.2.6D, 10.2.9D, 10.2.12D
What happens when a skeleton is discovered? How do scientists use bones to solve crimes? Students learn about the role of forensic anthropology in criminal investigation, and they find out can be learned from examining skeletal remains.
PA Standards Met: Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.1.10.B4, 3.1.B.B4
Botanical Medicine, Then and Now
Take a tour of our Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden in this hands-on outdoors lesson. Learn about how plants have been used as medicine in the past, associated folklore, and current scientifically-proven uses today.
PA Standards Met: Health, Safety and Physical Education: 10.1.12.E; History: 8.2.U.B, 8.2.12.B
The Brain: More Than Just Gray Matter!
The brain is an amazing organ, controlling our thoughts, feelings, and who we are. In this lesson, students will learn about the different parts of the brain and what those parts do, as well as discuss diseases of and injuries to the brain.
PA Standards Met: Health, Safety and Physical Education: 10.1.3B, 10.1.6B; Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.1.12.A6, 3.1.10.A8
Comparative Skull Drawing
In this lesson students will create a drawing from images of real human skulls in our famous Hyrtl Skull Collection. Close observation will show students how skulls are shaped differently and can inform a variety of forensic determinations such as age, stature, sex, and racial background of a person. We will discuss these differences in the skulls, as well as learn about Dr. Hyrtl, why he collected the skulls, what his collection accomplished, and how it is still being used today. Recommended for classes of 25 students or less. Drawing supplies are included in the lesson.
PA Standards Met: Health, Safety and Physical Education: 10.1.3.B; Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.1.10B4, 3.1.B.B4
Conjoined Twins (Together Forever…?)
Have you ever wondered how conjoined twins happen? In this lesson, students learn about the nature of conjoined twins and their different types, and they discuss some famous conjoined twins. Students find out about the ramifications of separation surgery, and why some twins can't be separated, or don't want to be separated.
PA Standards Met: Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.1.B.A3
Civil War Medicine
This lesson offers an overview of the role and practice of medicine in the Civil War and a description of the impact on modern medicine. Examples include the invention of ambulances and the development of specialty medicine.
PA Standards Met: History: 8.3.3.A, 8.2.12B, 8.2.U.B, 8.2.9B
While less than 200 years old, the idea that germs make people sick has revolutionized not only medicine but our daily lives, from getting shots at the doctor to washing our hands before we eat. Students learn about the incredible, astonishing, and sometimes disgusting stories of the men and women who first fought germs and learned how to keep us healthy.
PA Standards Met: History: 8.1.6A, 8.4.9A, 8.4.12A; Health, Safety and Physical Education: 10.1.3E, 10.2.6A, 10.2.3A, 10.2.3E, 10.2.12.E, 10.2.9E; Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.4.10.E1, 3.4.12.E1
The Five Senses
Perfect for younger audiences
Our five senses help us learn about the world around us. In this lesson, students will learn more about the basic five senses, explore their own senses in some interactive stations, and explore if there are more than the five senses we know!
PA Standards Met: Health, Safety & Physical Education: 10.1.6B
Hip2Know: Sexually Transmitted Infections in Philadelphia
This lesson gives a historical overview of sexually transmitted infections and describes their mode of transmission, symptoms, and prevalence in Philadelphia teens. Approved for use in schools by the School District of Philadelphia.
PA Standards met: Health, Safety and Physical Education: 10.1.6E; 10.1.9A, E; 10.1.12A, B, E
The Science Behind the Sideshow
In the 19th Century, people born with differences were the royalty of the sideshow. People like the “Siamese Twins” Chang and Eng, or giants, were toured around the world. Learn the scientific reasons behind their differences that made them the stars of the circus sideshow.
PA Standards Met: Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.1.7.B1, 3.1.7.B5, 3.1.B.B1
Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia
The 1918-1919 influenza pandemic infected nearly one third of all humans on Earth and resulted in over 50 million deaths. The worst hit city in the United States was Philadelphia, where roughly 16,000 people died from the “Spanish flu.” However, despite its significant impact on human history, many people have never heard of what some have called the “forgotten pandemic.” This lesson will help students understand the history of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, the virus that caused it, the impact of World War I on spreading the disease, the scientific and public health response to the outbreak, and the ways the pandemic influenced present-day medical knowledge and responses to infectious disease. Students will also have the chance to develop a response plan to a simulated epidemic and compare their findings to the ways Philadelphia officials responded to influenza in 1918.
PA Standards met: 8.1.9.A-D, 8.1.12.A-D, 8.2.12.A-D
National Health Standards met: 7.12.1-3
Major support for Spit Spreads Death has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with additional support from the Groff Family Memorial Trust and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Spit Spreads Death: An Overview of Cold and Flu
Did you ever wonder why you need to get a flu shot every year? Or why you can’t take antibiotics to cure the common cold? In this lesson, students will gain a greater understanding of colds and flus, learning about the viruses that cause them, how colds and flus spread, signs someone has a cold or flu, how doctors treated them (past and present), and how they can help reduce their risk of infection. Through a simple hands-on activity, students will also learn how close contact helps spread colds and the flu. This lesson will help expand their knowledge of infectious diseases and help give them the tools to help reduce the risk of catching colds and flus for themselves, their families, and their communities.
National Health Education Standards: 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3, 7.8.1, 7.8.2, 7.8.3
Major support for Spit Spreads Death has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with additional support from the Groff Family Memorial Trust and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
You Gotta Have Heart!
The most important muscle in our body is our heart. Learn about how the heart works, and how we can strive to keep it healthy.
PA Standards Met: Health, Safety and Physical Education: 10.1.3B, 10.2.6E, 10.4.6B, 10.4.9B, 10.4.9C; Science and Technology and Engineering Education: 3.1.12.A6, 3.1.10.A8
Bring the Mütter Museum To You
Can't visit The Mütter Museum? We have you covered with several options for off-site lessons you can bring into your classroom or home.
Mütter on the Road
Our Museum Educator can travel to your classroom to teach a Mütter Lesson. Lessons feature specimens from the Museum, as well as hands-on materials.
Uncover what it means to be human by exploring disturbingly informative items from the Mütter collection at home or on the road with our digital Memento Mütter exhibit. Enhance your classroom with primary sources and lesson plans. All lessons are designed to fulfill state educational standards.