International Museum of Surgical Science

International Museum of Surgical Science The mission of the Museum is to enrich people's lives by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of the history, art and advances of surgery.

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 m

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 m

Operating as usual

In celebration of World Immunization Week, we’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Gar...
04/24/2021

In celebration of World Immunization Week, we’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden. Follow them for fascinating info about the history of vaccines.

The world’s first vaccine was pioneered by Edward Jenner (1749-1823). Through multiple, repeated trials Jenner was able to demonstrate that the mild disease cowpox provided protection from the horrific disease smallpox, and that cowpox could be transmitted to humans in a controlled way. But Jenner did more than just demonstrate the efficacy of a vaccine.

Believing that vaccination could rid the world of smallpox, Jenner wanted to ensure that vaccination was available to everyone from the outset. He freely shared details of the practice, writing from his home in the Gloucestershire countryside to people around the world, he provided the means by which others could identify and produce their own vaccine material, and he distributed supplies of cowpox when he had them. In his garden, he turned a rustic, thatched summerhouse into a free vaccination centre for local residents where he would personally explain the benefits of the practice and discuss any fears and concerns his neighbours had. He called it the Temple of Vaccinia.

On 8 May 1980, the World Health Assembly confirmed that smallpox had been eradicated. It is the first and, to date, the only human disease to have been eradicated globally. Vaccination was crucial in this monumental achievement, as was the commitment of countries around the world to work together with one common aim.

Smallpox has been eradicated, but vaccination continues. Now vaccines, inspired by Jenner’s work, are available for many different diseases and vaccination saves between two and three million lives every year.

Jenner’s house and his garden with the Temple of Vaccinia have been preserved for the world. As a museum Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden welcomes visitors from around the world, sharing the history of our struggle against infectious disease, celebrating the ongoing global impact of vaccination, and encouraging and inspiring the vaccine researchers of the future.

In celebration of World Immunization Week, we’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden. Follow them for fascinating info about the history of vaccines.

The world’s first vaccine was pioneered by Edward Jenner (1749-1823). Through multiple, repeated trials Jenner was able to demonstrate that the mild disease cowpox provided protection from the horrific disease smallpox, and that cowpox could be transmitted to humans in a controlled way. But Jenner did more than just demonstrate the efficacy of a vaccine.

Believing that vaccination could rid the world of smallpox, Jenner wanted to ensure that vaccination was available to everyone from the outset. He freely shared details of the practice, writing from his home in the Gloucestershire countryside to people around the world, he provided the means by which others could identify and produce their own vaccine material, and he distributed supplies of cowpox when he had them. In his garden, he turned a rustic, thatched summerhouse into a free vaccination centre for local residents where he would personally explain the benefits of the practice and discuss any fears and concerns his neighbours had. He called it the Temple of Vaccinia.

On 8 May 1980, the World Health Assembly confirmed that smallpox had been eradicated. It is the first and, to date, the only human disease to have been eradicated globally. Vaccination was crucial in this monumental achievement, as was the commitment of countries around the world to work together with one common aim.

Smallpox has been eradicated, but vaccination continues. Now vaccines, inspired by Jenner’s work, are available for many different diseases and vaccination saves between two and three million lives every year.

Jenner’s house and his garden with the Temple of Vaccinia have been preserved for the world. As a museum Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden welcomes visitors from around the world, sharing the history of our struggle against infectious disease, celebrating the ongoing global impact of vaccination, and encouraging and inspiring the vaccine researchers of the future.

In anticipation of World Immunization Week, we’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Ga...
04/23/2021

In anticipation of World Immunization Week, we’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden. Follow them for fascinating info about the history of vaccines.

Look familiar? This might be the world’s first vaccine selfie. It is not from 2021 but from 1823, and the vaccine being administered is not for COVID-19 but for smallpox. Smallpox was an infectious viral disease which caused a characteristic skin rash. With a 30% case fatality rate, it killed 300 million people worldwide in the 20th century alone.

Smallpox had no cure, but it was known that those who had contracted it once and recovered would not usually be infected again. From 1550 there are accounts of people in China, India, Turkey, and parts of Africa being infected with smallpox in a controlled way to provide immunity. In Western medicine it became known as inoculation.

Inoculation was effective, but not everyone receiving it contracted the desired mild case of smallpox. Furthermore, it did not stop transmission of the virus and relied on the continued presence of smallpox to prevent smallpox. Many wondered if there might be another way to protect people from the disease.

Enter British scientist Edward Jenner (1749-1823). He had long been interested in a country tradition that those who had contracted another disease, cowpox, were also immune from smallpox. Cowpox was a disease usually affecting cattle, but could sometimes be transmitted to farmworkers, causing a mild infection. Jenner decided to test this scientifically and, on 14 May 1796, took fluid from a cowpox blister and scratched it onto the arm of James Phipps. As Jenner expected, Phipps contracted cowpox and, once his fever subsided, Jenner then attempted to inoculate him Phipps did not contract smallpox. Jenner repeated this trial multiple times. The results convinced him that cowpox would provide immunity from smallpox. He called the process vaccine inoculation, after the Latin ‘vacca’ for cow. It soon became known as vaccination.

In anticipation of World Immunization Week, we’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden. Follow them for fascinating info about the history of vaccines.

Look familiar? This might be the world’s first vaccine selfie. It is not from 2021 but from 1823, and the vaccine being administered is not for COVID-19 but for smallpox. Smallpox was an infectious viral disease which caused a characteristic skin rash. With a 30% case fatality rate, it killed 300 million people worldwide in the 20th century alone.

Smallpox had no cure, but it was known that those who had contracted it once and recovered would not usually be infected again. From 1550 there are accounts of people in China, India, Turkey, and parts of Africa being infected with smallpox in a controlled way to provide immunity. In Western medicine it became known as inoculation.

Inoculation was effective, but not everyone receiving it contracted the desired mild case of smallpox. Furthermore, it did not stop transmission of the virus and relied on the continued presence of smallpox to prevent smallpox. Many wondered if there might be another way to protect people from the disease.

Enter British scientist Edward Jenner (1749-1823). He had long been interested in a country tradition that those who had contracted another disease, cowpox, were also immune from smallpox. Cowpox was a disease usually affecting cattle, but could sometimes be transmitted to farmworkers, causing a mild infection. Jenner decided to test this scientifically and, on 14 May 1796, took fluid from a cowpox blister and scratched it onto the arm of James Phipps. As Jenner expected, Phipps contracted cowpox and, once his fever subsided, Jenner then attempted to inoculate him Phipps did not contract smallpox. Jenner repeated this trial multiple times. The results convinced him that cowpox would provide immunity from smallpox. He called the process vaccine inoculation, after the Latin ‘vacca’ for cow. It soon became known as vaccination.

In 2020, Emmanuelle Charpentier (left) and Jennifer Doudna (right) became the first two women to share the Nobel chemist...
04/22/2021

In 2020, Emmanuelle Charpentier (left) and Jennifer Doudna (right) became the first two women to share the Nobel chemistry prize for their work on genome editing. It was the first time two women had been awarded any Nobel science prize without a male collaborator also being listed on the award.

The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes contains a molecule called tracrRNA, which works as part of the organism’s immune defence. The protein, called Cas9, disarms viruses by slicing up their DNA like scissors, therefore stopping it from infecting the bacterium. Although Doudna and Charpentier were not were not the first to discover Cas9, they were the first to prove that it could be reprogrammed to cut and edit different DNAs.

They were successful in recreating and simplifying the bacterium’s ‘scissor’ defence within a test tube. Naturally these genetic scissors recognise the DNA of viruses but Charpentier and Doudna discovered that these scissors could be reprogrammed to cut any DNA molecule at any selected site. This has already been instrumental in new clinical trials for cancer therapies, but also hold the exciting potential of being able to cure inherited diseases, such as sickle cell anemia.

There have been ethical concerns about the use of Crispr-Cas9, specifically surrounding germline editing, which would pass gene edits onto the next generation. In 2015, Jennifer Doudna organised an effort that called for a moratorium on human genome editing and developed a framework that would safeguard the genomes of human embryos against modification.

Emmanuelle Charpentier hopes that their Nobel win will ‘provide a positive message, specifically for young girls who would like to follow the path of science...and show to them that women in science can also have an impact with the research they are performing’.

Image Credit: Vilnius University (Charpentier); Laura Morton Photography
(Doudna)

In 2020, Emmanuelle Charpentier (left) and Jennifer Doudna (right) became the first two women to share the Nobel chemistry prize for their work on genome editing. It was the first time two women had been awarded any Nobel science prize without a male collaborator also being listed on the award.

The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes contains a molecule called tracrRNA, which works as part of the organism’s immune defence. The protein, called Cas9, disarms viruses by slicing up their DNA like scissors, therefore stopping it from infecting the bacterium. Although Doudna and Charpentier were not were not the first to discover Cas9, they were the first to prove that it could be reprogrammed to cut and edit different DNAs.

They were successful in recreating and simplifying the bacterium’s ‘scissor’ defence within a test tube. Naturally these genetic scissors recognise the DNA of viruses but Charpentier and Doudna discovered that these scissors could be reprogrammed to cut any DNA molecule at any selected site. This has already been instrumental in new clinical trials for cancer therapies, but also hold the exciting potential of being able to cure inherited diseases, such as sickle cell anemia.

There have been ethical concerns about the use of Crispr-Cas9, specifically surrounding germline editing, which would pass gene edits onto the next generation. In 2015, Jennifer Doudna organised an effort that called for a moratorium on human genome editing and developed a framework that would safeguard the genomes of human embryos against modification.

Emmanuelle Charpentier hopes that their Nobel win will ‘provide a positive message, specifically for young girls who would like to follow the path of science...and show to them that women in science can also have an impact with the research they are performing’.

Image Credit: Vilnius University (Charpentier); Laura Morton Photography
(Doudna)

Happy Women's History Month! Take 20% off in our gift shop through 3/31/21 with code WOMENSHISTORY ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿What strong...
03/26/2021

Happy Women's History Month! Take 20% off in our gift shop through 3/31/21 with code WOMENSHISTORY ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

What strong women in your life are you celebrating this month? 🏋🏾‍♀️👸🏽👩‍🔬

Shop here: https://imss.ecwid.com/Gift-Shop-c15857083 🛍

Happy Women's History Month! Take 20% off in our gift shop through 3/31/21 with code WOMENSHISTORY ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

What strong women in your life are you celebrating this month? 🏋🏾‍♀️👸🏽👩‍🔬

Shop here: https://imss.ecwid.com/Gift-Shop-c15857083 🛍

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, known as the first female Indigenous North American doctor, was born on the Omaha reservat...
03/23/2021

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, known as the first female Indigenous North American doctor, was born on the Omaha reservation in eastern Nebraska in 1865. Indigenous communities have long had their own systems of healthcare, so while Picotte was of course not the first Indigenous woman healthcare provider, she was the first to earn an institutionalized medical degree.

At eight years old, Picotte watched over the sickbed of an elderly Indigenous woman who died in great pain because the white agency doctor never arrived. Picotte believed that this was because the sick woman was Indigenous and therefore “did not matter” to the doctor. This formative traumatic experience inspired her to become a licensed doctor so that she could serve her community’s medical needs herself.

In 1886, Picotte was accepted to the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and won funding for her tuition and living expenses from the “Women’s National Indian Association,” a group that aimed to “civilize” Indigenous communities through matron missionaries. Susan graduated medical school at the top of her class in 1889.

Picotte returned to the Omaha reservation where she was born and became responsible for the health of over 1,200 people. She carried on working even after the birth of her children, whom she would often bring on house calls. She was particularly dedicated to preventing the spread of tuberculosis, which killed hundreds within the Omaha community, including her husband. Picotte also raised money to build a hospital, which subsequently was named after her—it was the first hospital on any reservation not funded by government money.

While Picotte’s story is groundbreaking, it is important to recognise the sacrifices she made in order to serve her community. In order to advocate for her people, she had to conform to powers that sought to eradicate her culture and impose their own. Although Picotte died over a 100 years ago, Indigenous North American people still face these same challenges today.

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, known as the first female Indigenous North American doctor, was born on the Omaha reservation in eastern Nebraska in 1865. Indigenous communities have long had their own systems of healthcare, so while Picotte was of course not the first Indigenous woman healthcare provider, she was the first to earn an institutionalized medical degree.

At eight years old, Picotte watched over the sickbed of an elderly Indigenous woman who died in great pain because the white agency doctor never arrived. Picotte believed that this was because the sick woman was Indigenous and therefore “did not matter” to the doctor. This formative traumatic experience inspired her to become a licensed doctor so that she could serve her community’s medical needs herself.

In 1886, Picotte was accepted to the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and won funding for her tuition and living expenses from the “Women’s National Indian Association,” a group that aimed to “civilize” Indigenous communities through matron missionaries. Susan graduated medical school at the top of her class in 1889.

Picotte returned to the Omaha reservation where she was born and became responsible for the health of over 1,200 people. She carried on working even after the birth of her children, whom she would often bring on house calls. She was particularly dedicated to preventing the spread of tuberculosis, which killed hundreds within the Omaha community, including her husband. Picotte also raised money to build a hospital, which subsequently was named after her—it was the first hospital on any reservation not funded by government money.

While Picotte’s story is groundbreaking, it is important to recognise the sacrifices she made in order to serve her community. In order to advocate for her people, she had to conform to powers that sought to eradicate her culture and impose their own. Although Picotte died over a 100 years ago, Indigenous North American people still face these same challenges today.

Did you know that one of America’s first pediatricians also became the world’s oldest doctor? Leila Denmark (1898–2012) ...
03/19/2021

Did you know that one of America’s first pediatricians also became the world’s oldest doctor? Leila Denmark (1898–2012) practiced medicine until she was 103, when deteriorating vision forced her to retire. Denmark started her career in 1928, the same year that Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. At the time of her death, aged 114 and 2 months, she was the 3rd oldest verified person in the US and the 5th in the world.

However, Dr. Leila Denmark’s longevity was not even the most interesting thing about her! Leila was born in 1898 to a farming family in Bulloch County, Georgia. She was the third of twelve children. Initially Leila pursued a career as a science teacher, but quickly felt that her vocation lay in practicing medicine. Despite facing misogyny and prejudice, she graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1928 — she was the only woman in her cohort of 52 students.

After completing various internships and residences in the field of pediatrics, Dr. Denmark opened her own practice in Atlanta. She gained a reputation for being dedicated to her community. She was always accessible to those who needed her help: she kept her practice either in her home or close by so she could be available quickly whatever the hour, she forwent hiring receptionists and nurses in favour of keeping her fees at an affordable price, she donated her time to the Central Presbyterian Church’s charity baby clinic, and was known to be generous with her time when new mothers needed her expert advice.

She was also a straight talker, admitting that “when a mother asks, 'Doctor, what makes my baby so bad?'" she was likely to get the answer, ‘Go look in the mirror. You get apples off apple trees.’” In 1932, an epidemic of whooping cough spread through Atlanta. Denmark, moved by witnessing the suffering of so many children in her community, conducted research into the disease and codeveloped the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine with Emory University and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. She was awarded the Fisher Prize in 1935 for this work.

Did you know that one of America’s first pediatricians also became the world’s oldest doctor? Leila Denmark (1898–2012) practiced medicine until she was 103, when deteriorating vision forced her to retire. Denmark started her career in 1928, the same year that Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. At the time of her death, aged 114 and 2 months, she was the 3rd oldest verified person in the US and the 5th in the world.

However, Dr. Leila Denmark’s longevity was not even the most interesting thing about her! Leila was born in 1898 to a farming family in Bulloch County, Georgia. She was the third of twelve children. Initially Leila pursued a career as a science teacher, but quickly felt that her vocation lay in practicing medicine. Despite facing misogyny and prejudice, she graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1928 — she was the only woman in her cohort of 52 students.

After completing various internships and residences in the field of pediatrics, Dr. Denmark opened her own practice in Atlanta. She gained a reputation for being dedicated to her community. She was always accessible to those who needed her help: she kept her practice either in her home or close by so she could be available quickly whatever the hour, she forwent hiring receptionists and nurses in favour of keeping her fees at an affordable price, she donated her time to the Central Presbyterian Church’s charity baby clinic, and was known to be generous with her time when new mothers needed her expert advice.

She was also a straight talker, admitting that “when a mother asks, 'Doctor, what makes my baby so bad?'" she was likely to get the answer, ‘Go look in the mirror. You get apples off apple trees.’” In 1932, an epidemic of whooping cough spread through Atlanta. Denmark, moved by witnessing the suffering of so many children in her community, conducted research into the disease and codeveloped the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine with Emory University and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. She was awarded the Fisher Prize in 1935 for this work.

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1524 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL
60610-8157

Opening Hours

Monday 9:30am - 5pm
Tuesday 9:30am - 5pm
Wednesday 9:30am - 5pm
Thursday 9:30am - 5pm
Friday 9:30am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm

Telephone

(312) 642-6502

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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. GENERAL INFORMATION The Museum is closed on the following holidays: Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. IMSS is also closed during the Chicago Air and Water Show weekend. ADMISSION Adults - $17.00 Students, Educators, Members or the Military (with ID) - $13.00 Senior Citizens (ages 65+) - $13.00 Children ages 4–13 (Free for ages 3 & under) - $9.00 Children ages 3 and under - FREE IMSS Members - FREE No Refunds • No Exchanges • No Re-Entry PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION The Museum is easily accessible by bus or train. * The CTA bus #151 stops at North Avenue, half a block north of the Museum. * From the Clark/Division stop of the Red Line elevated train walk east on Division until you reach Lake Shore Drive. Turn north and walk a few blocks to the Museum. * From the Sedgwick stop of the Brown Line and Purple Line Express elevated train, walk east on North Avenue until you reach Lake Shore Drive. Turn south and walk a block to the Museum. For train and bus schedules call the RTA/CTA at 312-836-7000. PARKING Ample discounted parking is available in 3 locations within a few minutes’ walk of the Museum. Retrieve a discounted validation voucher/stamp at the Museum box office to present to the parking attendant upon exiting the lot/ramp. PARKING OPTION Standard Parking Lot - Behind the Chicago History Museum located on Clark and LaSalle Streets, Chicago, IL 60614; entrance on Stockton Drive Standard Parking Lot - in condominium building at 1445 N. State Parkway, Chicago, IL 60610; entrance on Burton Place. Standard Parking Lot - in condominium building at 1350 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60610; entrance on E. Banks Street


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Comments

WOW! I have never been there, and I am very impressed. Thank you.
My friend is a fanatic about surgical museums and we attended the very enjoyable Morbid Curiosities and Surgical History Tour of the museum. The tour happens after hours; so, the small group has the museum to itself which is fantastic. I loved the Vesalius and Albinus anatomical folios, learned about Seishu Hanaoka, and stared at the 4000 yr old trephined Incan skulls. The guide Miranda was very informative and funny and Catherine, the Assistant Manager of Education and Events, was very helpful and welcoming. We joined as members and bought some swag. Highly recommended. 5 stars.
I really enjoyed our visit to your museum...me and my classmates learned a lot and I look forward to coming back soon!
My Microscope said I use for histology.
Karen Ann Steele & I had a great time at the David Allen Reception. The Museum is amazing!
Hi! I'm looking for tickets for 2 for the Valentines event on the 15th? Anyone have them and unable to go? Message me!
Donald and Laney..we gotta check this museum out! Right up my alley
I'm chairing a session at the 2018 ASECS (American Soc. for Eighteenth-Century Studies) Conference in Orlando, FL: "Anatomical Instruction in the Netherlands in the Long Eighteenth Century." Email cv and proposal to graciano at mailbox.sc.edu. Please share. Interested in papers dealing with topics as late as 1820.