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Minnepolis Science Museum
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この博物館は厳密に言うと 2002 年に閉鎖されました。しかし、ミネソタ科学博物館および学芸員兼収集家のボブ・マッコイの尽力のおかげで、収集品はミネソタ科学博物館内の「怪しげな医療機器」コレクションとして現在も展示されています。展示物には、頭部のこぶのサイズを測定することで個性を測定するための骨相学の機械、減量用に設計されたメガネや石けん製品などがあります。現在でも完全に機能する機械に骨相学をみてもらうことはできます。機械は頭蓋骨の隆起の輪郭を描き、骨相学を読み取る機械で、知性、道徳性などがマッピングされます。このような機械は、他の怪しげな医療機器と同じく、1900 年代初期のステートフェアで大ブームとなりました。当時の製品コマーシャルでは、これらの怪しげな医療機器やエセ科学の器具は、性交不能を治し、人の賢さを測り、永遠の命を約束するものと謳っていました。

What the Human Mind Has Devised to Cure Itself

Unfortunately these contraptions were also often dangerous to the public that was tricked into using them. A depilatory machine removed unwanted hair with x-rays and ultimately caused cancer in the thousands of women who paid for the treatment. Another apparatus, used in shoe stores, allowed you to see your feet in your new shoes with an x-ray machine. How else could you tell if the shoes fit? The machine was declared unsafe by the FDA in 1970.

The museum's roots lie in a modern-day "phrenology parlor" started by Bob McCoy in the early 80s. Bob and his friend acquired a dozen or so phrenology machines and opened up shop in a waterfront mall in downtown Minneapolis. Demonstrating the machinery for a few bucks a pop, word soon spread about McCoy and his vintage devices.

McCoy continued to acquire additional pieces from garage sales and other collectors, and the exhibit now also holds exhibits on loan from The American Medical Association, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The St. Louis Science Center, The Bakken Library, and The National Council Against Health Fraud. When McCoy retired, he donated his collection of more than 325 exhibits to the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The museum is currently the world's largest display of "what the human mind has devised to cure itself without the benefit of either scientific method or common sense."

Know Before You Go

The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices is now located at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Content originally created for Atlas Obscura.