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Minnepolis Science Museum
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이러한 의심스러운 의료 기기 수집품들은 때때로 진료는 의사에게 받는 게 최고라는 사실을 상기시킵니다.

엄밀히 말하면, 이 박물관은 2002년에 문을 닫았지만, 미네소타 과학 박물관(Science Museum of Minnesota)과 큐레이터 겸 수집가인 밥 맥코이(Bob McCoy)의 담대한 노력 덕분에 이들 소장품은 미네소타 과학 박물관의 ‘의심스러운 의료 기기’ 소장품으로 계속 남아 있게 되었습니다. 전시된 전시품에는 머리의 요철 크기를 측정하여 성격을 측정하는 골상학 기기와 안경, 체중 감량을 위해 고안된 비누 제품 등이 있습니다. 오늘날에도 제대로 작동되는 기기를 통해 골상을 읽을 수 있고, 기계가 두개골의 요철을 파악하면서 골상 판독기는 지능, 도덕성 등을 ‘매핑’합니다. 1900년대 초 주 박람회에서 여러 의심스러운 기기들과 함께 이같은 기기들도 인기를 끌었습니다. 당시 인포머셜(Infomercial, 해설식 광고)은 뱀 기름과 유사과학(Pseudoscience) 기기들이 발기부전을 치료하고, 얼마나 똑똑한지 말해주고, 영원히 살게 해준다고 광고하였습니다.

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.

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