Gowanus' Morbid Anatomy Museum Closes

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The Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus has closed.

A museum in Gowanus, Brooklyn known for its fascination with death, medical oddities, and other dark curiosities has closed. The Morbid Anatomy Museum had carved out a niche in Gowanus, one that its founders hope will live on.

Co-founder Joanna Eberstein said she always found it difficult to define the museum, in part, because its mission including collecting artifacts that don't fit squarely into existing categories.

"We were interested in things that fall between the cracks," she said. "Things that aren't taken seriously, things that, you know, are hard to understand today because maybe our definitions of art and science have changed, maybe our definitions of religion and medicine have changed, and the ways that they might intersect."

For the museum, that meant displaying an odd assortment of artifacts, including Victorian hair art, memento mori, anatomical models and images, and taxidermy.

The museum's final exhibit was called Kittens' Wedding. It featured the work of Walter Potter, a self-taught taxidermist at the turn of the 19th century. He created the anthropomorphic scene of kittens dressed in wedding finery, right down to their tiny, intricate jewelry.

"Every little exhibition we did was a passion project for somebody in our small little community, and we fought for it," said Museum co-founder Tracy Hurley Martin.

The founders said the museum became a gathering place for like-minded people, and they hope that community will continue to thrive.

"It is niche, and it's not for everyone, but it is for so many more people than we expected it would be," Eberstein said.

In a Rest in Peace statement, the museum said it struggled to develop broad support, and the funding it needed to sustain itself. But it also thanked its supporters, and encouraged them to continue exploring their morbid interests.