National Museum of Health and Medicine

Logan Circle, U Street & Columbia Heights

Macabre exhibits galore pack this Department of Defense–run museum. The stomach-shaped hairball leaves a lasting impression (a 12-year-old girl ate THAT?), as does the megacolon (use your imagination). The showpiece is the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln, encased alongside bits of his skull. The museum is located at Fort Detrick’s Forest Glen Annex. That’s officially out of the District, but just over the border in Silver Spring, MD.

Opened in 1862, the museum is one of the oldest in the DC area. The focus of the museum’s eclectic collection is military medicine – the displays on Civil War combat ‘nursing’ are gruesome and fascinating in equal measure. It’s not for the faint-hearted – visitors will see the effects of diseases, the tools used to battle them and all the messy side and after effects

Unfortunately, the Metro won't get you very close (the station is a mile from the site), so it’s easiest to drive out. Parking is free. Bring photo ID.

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