Police in Philadelphia are investigating after a package containing two preserved fetuses in a jar was sent to the city’s Mütter Museum.
The package arrived late Tuesday morning and staff immediately reported the discovery to police.
Curator Anna Dhody told NBC Philadelphia the package — which had no return address or otherwise identifying information — contained a letter from a person who said they were a retired physician.
“I have been here for almost 20 years and I have never received human remains anonymously in the mail,” Dhody said. “This was definitely out of the ordinary.”
Dhody said the museum would be unable to accept the donation because it was unclear where it originated from. The museum’s donation process is much more robust and items are never just dropped off, she added.
She told KYW Newsradio that prospective donors should reach out to the museum to arrange donations before sending anything.
The fetuses were turned over to the city’s Medical Examiner’s Office for investigation.
“To my eye, they appeared to be human, but it will be up to the medical examiners to make that ultimate determination,” Dhody said
Considered one of the country’s foremost medical history museums, the Mütter “helps the public understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body and to appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.”
First opened in 1863, the museum is known for its more than 20,000 unusual specimens — including fetuses and skeletons — wax figures and antique medical equipment.