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International Museum of Surgical Science

The International Museum of Surgical Science is a museum located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. It is operated by The … See more


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Jan 16, 2023
We visited here since we are in the medical field. many of the other visitors seemed to be as well. Amazing examples of early surgical challenges as well as actual surgical kits from the 1800s on. A … Full review by Davanrn
Dec 2, 2022
Fantastic museum for anyone interested in the history of medicine. So many fascinating items on display. Recommended! Full review by natasadevic
Nov 30, 2022
This is a small but fascinating collection with abundant written descriptions all designed to make you feel eternally grateful for being born in the second half of the last century. Be prepared to re… Full review by um1986


Museum Dedicated to Surgical Science, and Its Assorted Arts
Surgery has a sordid past. Through the 16th century, barbers also served the role of surgeon, wielding the amputation saw. Before antiseptics, many patients perished at the hands of their surgeon. In modern times surgery remains a scary, but illustrious, discipline of medicine, requiring years of additional study beyond medical school.Operated by the International College of Surgeons, the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago reveals the intricate history of this curious field. In 1935, Dr. Max Thorek founded the International College of Surgeons in Geneva to promote exchange between surgeons. In 1954, he founded the museum in Chicago. The museum also was a useful tool for educating the public about advancements in the surgery.The museum has rotating exhibits focusing on medical issues of the past and present. Exhibits cover everything from practical subjects like plastic surgery and diabetes to more creative pieces that happen to be related to the medical sciences, such as sculptures made from bones and machine parts.Though the museum’s mission is unchanged, they have embraced new methods. In 1990, the museum began curating exhibitions around historical themes and surgical disciplines. Then in 1993, they began displaying contemporary art that dealt with medical themes.In addition to rotating exhibits, the museum houses four permanent collections: medical artifacts, fine art, the Museum Library, and the manuscript collection. Over 7,000 objects - from acupuncture needles to X-ray machines - are on display. The fine art section primarily offers portraits of influential medical figures. The library contains many early, rare medical books. The manuscript collection includes letters and journals from such notables as Florence Nightingale, Christian Bergmann, and Thomas Guy.The museum is housed in a unique building on Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Built in 1917, the building was styled on a chateau in Versailles of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. With Italian marble and a gilded grand staircase, the home is an exhibition in itself. In the gift shop, you can find everything from a model of the jaw to a giant microbe plush toy.Obscura Day location: April 9, 2011.
Embodies the Gold Coast Splendor
The International Museum of Surgical Science is a museum located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. It is operated by the International College of Surgeons and features exhibits dealing with various aspects of Eastern and Western medicine. It was founded by Dr. Max Thorek in 1954. The International Museum of Surgical Science proudly presents an innovative new version of OUR BODY: The Universe Within. Unlike any prior anatomical exhibition, OUR BODY at IMSS integrates preserved whole-body and organ specimens with artifacts from the Museum's permanent collection to showcase both the complexity of the human body and the ingenuity of modern and historical medical technologies. This joint exhibition also illustrates the progress of anatomical study from early dissections and atlases to the revolutionary process of polymer impregnation, which has made display of these specimens possible on its current scale. Since 1954, the International Museum of Surgical Science has provided education on the history and progress of surgery and related medical sciences to hundreds of thousands of visitors. As a not-for-profit division of the International College of Surgeons, the Museum depicts contributions from around the world to the history, development and advances of surgery and related subjects in health and medicine. Housed in a historic mansion, the Museum building is a City of Chicago Landmark and is listed in the National Register and Illinois Register of Historic Places. The elegant structure, known as the Eleanor Robinson Countiss House, is patterned after Le Petit Trianon, a French chateau built on the grounds of Versailles for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Designed by noted Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, the building was completed in 1917. Original interior finishes of marble and cut stone; decorative plaster work, metal fixtures and hardware; eight fireplaces; and a gilded metal grand staircase are among the features, which have been preserved. The building truly embodies the Gold Coast splendor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Text source: Photo source:

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