The Philadelphia Police Department has initiated an investigation into a peculiar package delivered to the Mütter Museum, a renowned institution in Philadelphia known for its vast collection of medical and anatomical specimens. The package, which arrived on Tuesday morning, contained two preserved fetuses housed in glass jars, raising immediate concerns among the museum staff.

Details of the Mysterious Package

Philadelphia Museum Receives Mysterious Package Containing Preserved Fetuses
Anna Dhody, pictured, has been the curator of the Mütter Museum since 2007.

Upon its arrival, the package was found to be addressed to the museum’s curator but lacked a return address, further complicating its origins. Included within was a letter from an individual claiming to be a retired physician, who stated that the fetuses were intended as a donation to the museum’s collection. Anna Dhody, the curator of the Mütter Museum, emphasized the absence of necessary documentation and provenance usually required for such donations, prompting the staff to contact authorities. “There’s no type of proper paperwork, provenance, or information about it that would enable us to accept that,” Dhody explained, highlighting the museum’s strict protocol for acquiring new specimens.

Museum’s Response and Ethical Standards

The Mütter Museum, a part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is well-regarded for its educational and scientific contributions through the display of medical specimens. While the museum does entertain donations, it adheres to a rigorous process that includes thorough research and documentation, particularly for human remains. Dhody, who has nearly two decades of experience as the museum’s curator, described the incident as highly unusual and outside the norm of their established procedures for accepting new items into their collection. The museum’s commitment to ethical standards and legal requirements in handling donations of human remains is unwavering, as demonstrated by their immediate action in involving law enforcement and forensic experts.

The investigation into the origins of the fetuses and the intentions behind this unsolicited donation continues, with the specimens currently under the care of the Medical Examiner’s Office. The Philadelphia Police Department has assured that further details will be shared as the investigation progresses, underlining the seriousness with which they are approaching this sensitive case.