Notes from the Field: Congdon Anatomical Museum
One of the most important things to us here at the Atlas is to always keep traveling and discovering. Notes from the Field are first person reports from the most inspiring trips taken by the Atlas Obscura Team.
The Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok is fairly well-known amongst world-travelers seeking out the unusual. A unique complex of six different medically themed museums, the Siriraj requires a fairly strong stomach and few hours of your time. Dylan and I visited the complex about a year ago, one of the last stops on a five week trip through South East Asia.
After spending a good hour and a half hopelessly lost in the rabbit-warren of hospital buildings that the museums are nestled in, we finally found the Siriraj. After touring museums of parasites, pathology, thai medicine, and feeling a bit nauseous over the extensive collection of photographs of murder victims in the forensics museum, we were ready to seek out the most historic museum, the Congdon Anatomical Museum. **WARNING: Some may find the images in this article disturbing.**
For us, the aesthetics of a historical medical museum make them completely fascinating. The care and reverence that was often placed on displaying anatomical models elevates these objects past simple educational tools. The other museums in the complex are fairly modern, and we were looking forward to old wood and glass vitrines.
It turned out that the Congdon was in another building. After getting lost yet again, we managed to stumble in past a half-napping security guard who didn't bother checking our prepaid tickets to enter. It was well worth the trouble. The museum was completely empty, and we stayed snapping pictures in near silence, marveling at the almost hallowed halls of old bodies and bones until the museum closed.