The zoological museum at Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania is a bit tricky to find. You'll need to roam long halls edged with unmarked doors and navigate a spiral staircase or two. But once you reach the heavy doors marked MUZEUL ZOOLOGIC, you're in for an astonishing experience.
Founded in 1859 — the same year that Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species — the zoological museum has retained its Victorian feel. Rows of gorgeous wooden display cases are filled with stuffed deer, pinned butterflies, jars of floating crustaceans, and dissected rodents. A dusty taxidermied snake, its expression one of drunken amusement rather than menace, is curled around a tree. Stuffed birds dangle from the ceiling, their feathers at the mercy of the open air.
Among all of this spooky beauty, the most surprising sight is a small collection of preserved human fetuses floating in alcohol-filled jars. Though modern natural history museums generally avoid displaying human specimens, at Muzeul Zoologic they're just another part of the animal kingdom.
Natural history on display:
View Zoological Museum in a larger map
TODAY IN SLATE
Scalia’s Liberal Streak
The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters
There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?
The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”
The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B
Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey
No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.
The Other Huxtable Effect
Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.