Morbid Anatomy Baltimore Field-Trip Featuring The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death with Tour Guide Robert Marbury

Interior shot of one of the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Date: Saturday, March 29th
Cost: $100 (includes luxury ground transportation in Baltimore and all museum admissions.
Location: Baltimore, MD (see below for specific meeting locations)
Tickets can be found by clicking here
Please note: This price DOES NOT cover bus transportation between New York and Baltimore, or meals. please email morbidanatomylibrary [at] with questions.

Today, join Morbid Anatomy for a day of wondrous frolics in “Charm City” with special tour guide-and rogue taxidermist!-Robert Marbury, whose Baltimore credentials include a star turn as Ricky Lake’s “Angelic Boyfriend” in John Waters’ Cry-Baby.

Our first stop will be The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Baltimore, where assistant to the examiner Bruce Golfarb will lead us on a special tour of The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a collection of obsessively detailed miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s and still used to train police in the methods of forensic death investigation.* The tour will also include a visit to what is called by some “the most violent room in Baltimore”: Scarpetta House, a full-sized furnished room donated by mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell in which death scenes are staged to train forensic investigators. We will also visit the Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, where we will engage in a traditional Cognac toast. Throughout the day, our delightful guide will also share with us his favorite Baltimore sights, and regale us with stories of the secret, fascinating, bizarre and sometimes tragic history of the city known affectionately as “Mobtown.”

Also: Although this is only a day trip, we highly recommend that all attendees stay over night and make a weekend of it. If you can do so, please join us for a Saturday night dinner at the Owl Pub. Every participants will also receive by email our Morbid Anatomy Guide to Baltimore (thanks to  Rachel Ridout!) with our favorites museums and collections, Antique stores and affordable hotels!

* To learn more about The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, join us on Thursday January 27th in Brooklyn for an illustrated lecture on their history by Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland Bruce Goldfarb; More on that here.

More about our destinations and tour guides:

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
This is an extraordinary collection of miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s in obsessive detail by Frances Glessner Lee. They were — and still are — used to train police in the methods of forensic death investigation. Lee, a wealthy socialite with no formal education who in middle age was commissioned by the New Hampshire State Police, is considered the mother of modern, scientific death investigation; she is also said to be the inspiration for the character of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. To learn more, come to “Death in a Nutshell: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death” at Observatory on Thursday January 27th. More on that here.

Scarpetta House
Donated by mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell and called by some “the most violent room in Baltimore,” Scarpetta House where death scenes are staged to train forensic investigators.

Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Celebrated both as an Historical Institution and a roadside attraction, The Great Blacks in Wax is the first wax museum of the City of Baltimore and the only to presents such an uncanny journey through African-American History.

The Poe Toaster (From Wikipedia)
Poe died at the age of 40 in Baltimore on October 7, 1849 under mysterious circumstances. The Poe Toaster tradition may have begun as early as the 1930s, according to witnesses, and continued annually until 2009. Each year, in the early hours of the morning of January 19 a black-clad figure (presumed male), face obscured by a scarf or hood, carrying a silver-tipped cane, would enter the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore. At the site of Poe’s original grave, which is marked with a commemorative stone, he would raise a cognac toast and place three red roses on the monument in a distinctive configuration, along with the unfinished bottle of Martell cognac. The roses were believed to represent Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Maria Clemm, all three of whom were originally interred at the site.

Robert Marbury is a multi-disciplinary artist working in fabric, photography and fur. Marbury practices “creativity as meditation” and explores social order and the liminal spaces in contemporary culture. Marbury is a co-founder of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists and lectures internationally about alternative taxidermy. He has developed his Urban Beast Project since 2000 in order to investigate the ferine nature of animals and their interaction with humans in the urban environment. Marbury received his BA in Anthropology from Connecticut College and a post-Bac from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He has played a drape in John Waters’ Cry-Baby, been held up by pirates in Indonesia, and served on the Minneapolis Arts Commission. Marbury lives in Baltimore, MD and has a book coming out in the fall 2014.

Bruce Goldfarb, a former paramedic and a nursing school drop-out, is an award-winning journalist and author of eight medical reference books. He now serves as executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland.

Logistical details:
Our bus will pick us up at 12.45pm at the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Baltimore ( 2110 Haines St, Baltimore, MD 21230 )
One drop off at 7.00pm at Greyhound Bus Terminal
Last drop off around 7.30pm in downtown Baltimore ( At the Owl Bar, 1 East Chase Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 )

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