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.
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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 Senior Citizens (ages 65+) - $13.00 Students, Educators & Members of the Military (with ID) - $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

Operating as usual

Happy SpoOOOoooky Season! Today through Halloween, take 20% off your order in our online gift shop with code SPOOKY20. 💀...
10/27/2020

Happy SpoOOOoooky Season! Today through Halloween, take 20% off your order in our online gift shop with code SPOOKY20. 💀👻🎃🕸🕷😈

NOTE: Coupon does not apply to jewelry listed under “Local Artists” or to preorders of Dark Archives and The Butchering Art.

Click here to shop: https://imss.ecwid.com/

10/26/2020
#HalloweenFromHome: Robert Liston’s Knives

Happy #MorbidMonday! Only a few days left to bid on incredible packages from local partners in our Halloween Fundraiser Auction. Click the link below for more information. 💀

Welcome to #HalloweenFromHome, our digital content series for the month of October. In lieu of an in-person gala this year, we are celebrating Spooky Season with digital explorations of some of the most morbid and macabre objects in our collection. This one is all about Robert Liston's knives!

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by supporting the Museum this month and bidding in our auction. If you would rather support the IMSS through a direct donation to the Museum’s GoFundMe, please visit the link below to do so. Each donation over $50 in the month of October will receive two free tickets to visit the Museum.

Thank you for your support and stay spooky! Click here for more info about our auction: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

TODAY AT 2PM CST! Click below to RSVP and preorder signed copies of Dark Archives and the Butchering Art now in our onli...
10/25/2020
Dark Archives: A Conversation with Megan Rosenbloom & Lindsey Fitzharris

TODAY AT 2PM CST! Click below to RSVP and preorder signed copies of Dark Archives and the Butchering Art now in our online store 📚💀🔪

There are books out there, some shelved unwittingly next to ordinary texts, that are bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand? In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom, a librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world’s most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories?

On October 25th, 2020, at 2pm CST, the International Museum of Surgical Science is hosting a FREE, VIRTUAL author reading with Megan Rosenbloom in conversation with medical historian, author, and TV host Lindsey Fitzharris. These two friends will discuss medical history, explore the English alleged human skin books, and reveal their adventures that were cut out of Dark Archives.

Signed copies of both books are available to preorder NOW in our online store: https://imss.ecwid.com/Dark-Archives-&-The-Butchering-Art-PREORDERS-c62186032

Dark Archives is a fascinating, terrifying look at the rarest books―bound in human skin―and the stories of their creation.

10/24/2020
#HalloweenFromHome: Secrets of the Library

Happy #SpookySaturday! Only a few days left to bid on incredible packages from local partners in our Halloween Fundraiser Auction. Click the link below for more information. 💀

Welcome to #HalloweenFromHome, our digital content series for the month of October. In lieu of an in-person gala this year, we are celebrating Spooky Season with digital explorations of some of the most morbid and macabre objects in our collection. This video is all about books bound in human skin! If you would like to learn more, RSVP for tomorrow’s free, virtual program Dark Archives: A Conversation with Megan Rosenbloom & Lindsey Fitzharris. Click here for more info: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dark-archives-a-conversation-with-megan-rosenbloom-lindsey-fitzharris-tickets-120079999511

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by supporting the Museum this month. Your participation ensures that the IMSS will be able to continue sharing the history of medicine and surgery and serving as a hub of scholarship, learning, and civic engagement in 2020 and beyond.

If you would rather support the IMSS through a direct donation to the Museum’s GoFundMe, please visit the link below to do so. Each donation over $50 in the month of October will receive two free tickets to visit the Museum.

Thank you for your support and stay spooky! 👻 Click here to learn more about our auction: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

Our second #HalloweenFromHome auction is now live! We’re thrilled to feature three extremely special auction items, cour...
10/23/2020

Our second #HalloweenFromHome auction is now live! We’re thrilled to feature three extremely special auction items, courtesy of our friends at the Design Museum of Chicago: original John Massey "Shape of Things to Come" banners from the 2018 State Street Campaign. These one-of-a-kind pieces of Chicago history hung on lampposts on State Street to celebrate the revival of Massey's iconic 1968 public art project.

This 96x31" double-sided banner features blue and green graphics and is made out of heavy weatherproof vinyl. What a perfect addition to any garage, basement, or rooftop decor! Image courtesy of the Design Museum of Chicago. Click here to browse our auction packages: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

Tucked away behind the counter of our historic apothecary stands our resident pharmacist, Dr. Uriah C. Jones. The exhibi...
10/22/2020

Tucked away behind the counter of our historic apothecary stands our resident pharmacist, Dr. Uriah C. Jones. The exhibit he keeps watch over was created by combining two real pharmacies, one from Iowa and one from New York. Rows of patent medicines, a prescription book, and tools of the trade take you inside Dr. Jones’ apothecary from Breda, Iowa in 1882. Next time you visit the Museum, stop by and say hi to him. He gets lonely sometimes. 💊

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by support...
10/21/2020

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by supporting the Museum this month. Our second auction for #HalloweenFromHome 2020 is now live! Click the link below to bid on goodies and experiences from some of our incredible local partners. 💀⁠

We hope you will stand with us and lend your support to our largest fundraiser of the year. Your participation ensures that the IMSS will be able to continue sharing the history of medicine and surgery and serving as a hub of scholarship, learning, and civic engagement in 2020 and beyond.⁠

If you would rather support the IMSS through a direct donation to the Museum’s GoFundMe, please visit the link below to do so. Each donation over $50 in the month of October will receive two free tickets to visit the Museum.⁠

Thank you for your support and stay spooky! 👻 CLICK HERE TO BID: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

Ephraim McDowell (1771-1830) was an American physician and pioneering surgeon. He trained privately as a medical student...
10/20/2020

Ephraim McDowell (1771-1830) was an American physician and pioneering surgeon. He trained privately as a medical student in Virginia and attended lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, specializing in lithotomy for the removal of stones obstructing the bladder and urinary tract. One of his most famous patients was President James K. Polk, for whom he removed a urinary stone and repaired a hernia.

In December 1809, McDowell performed his most famous operation, removing a 22.5 pound ovarian tumor from Ms. Jane Todd Crawford of Danville, Kentucky. The 25-minute surgery was performed without the benefit of anesthetic or antiseptic, but Crawford made an uncomplicated recovery and lived another 32 years. McDowell’s procedure is thought to be the first successful removal of an ovarian tumor in the world, leading to his title as “the father of ovariotomy” and a founding father of abdominal surgery. His procedure helped advance the field of reproductive health, which had not changed much since Renaissance anatomist Andreas Vesalius’ description of the human reproductive organs in the late 1500s and the first step-by-step illustrations of pelvic and vaginal surgery produced in the 1600s.

The image below is a painting of McDowell and his assistants with Ms. Jane Todd Crawford after her procedure. It is part of the Museum’s Hall of Murals and was painted by Count Gregorio Calvi di Bergolo at the request of our founder, Dr. Max Thorek, in 1953-54.

10/19/2020
#HalloweenFromHome: Amputation Painting

Happy #MorbidMonday! It’s the fourth installment of #HalloweenFromHome, our digital content series for the month of October. In lieu of an in-person gala this year, we are celebrating Spooky Season with digital explorations of some of the most morbid and macabre objects in our collection. 😈

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by supporting the Museum this month. Your participation ensures that the IMSS will be able to continue sharing the history of medicine and surgery and serving as a hub of scholarship, learning, and civic engagement in 2020 and beyond. Click the link below for more information.

If you would rather support the IMSS through a direct donation to the Museum’s GoFundMe, please visit the link below to do so. Each donation over $50 in the month of October will receive two free tickets to visit the Museum.

Thank you for your support and stay spooky! 👻 Learn more here: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

10/17/2020
#HalloweenFromHome: Plant Medicine

Happy #SpookySaturday! Only a few days left to bid in our Adopt-A-Skull fundraiser. Click the link below for more information. 💀

It’s the third installment of #HalloweenFromHome, our digital content series for the month of October. In lieu of an in-person gala this year, we are celebrating Spooky Season with digital explorations of some of the most morbid and macabre objects in our collection.

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by supporting the Museum this month. Your participation ensures that the IMSS will be able to continue sharing the history of medicine and surgery and serving as a hub of scholarship, learning, and civic engagement in 2020 and beyond.

If you would rather support the IMSS through a direct donation to the Museum’s GoFundMe, please visit the link below to do so. Each donation over $50 in the month of October will receive two free tickets to visit the Museum.

Thank you for your support and stay spooky! 👻 Click to learn more: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

OPEN NOW! 𝑯𝒀𝑺𝑻𝑬𝑹𝑰𝑨 is a solo exhibition by Spring 2020 Artist-in-Residence Selva Aparicio (@selvaaparicio) designed in c...
10/16/2020

OPEN NOW! 𝑯𝒀𝑺𝑻𝑬𝑹𝑰𝑨 is a solo exhibition by Spring 2020 Artist-in-Residence Selva Aparicio (@selvaaparicio) designed in conversation with the collections and exhibitions at the International Museum of Surgical Science. With a focus on the fragility of life and the implications of gender, race, and power dynamics in medicine, Aparicio draws on her own experiences to explore the innate power of liminal objects like the gynecological exam table and an assortment of forceps and specula at the heart of her exhibition. Hysteria centers both the memories imbued within and the imprints of past patients upon these enduring pieces to explore the nature of womanhood as a condition defined by conflict, pain, and transition, constantly positioned at the very precipice of life and death.⁠

𝑯𝒀𝑺𝑻𝑬𝑹𝑰𝑨 invites viewers to consider the effects of the institutionalization of medicine and subsequent imposition of strict boundaries in relation to gender, race, and authority in its most basic practice. The professionalization of gynecology in particular is a central theme in Aparicio’s work as it saw women removed from centuries-old positions of authority in favor of their textbook-educated male counterparts and the exploitation of marginalized women in the name of advancement and innovation.⁠

Like curtains in an examination room, Aparicio juxtaposes historical artifacts and natural materials to manifest these boundaries in the reflective process and represent the limitations of medical practice and long-standing social conventions. Utilizing thorn stems and ligature, the ephemerality of nature is contrasted with the rigidity of western medical practice and the unyielding conventions that inform consent, agency, and bodily autonomy.⁠

𝑯𝒀𝑺𝑻𝑬𝑹𝑰𝑨 will be open through January 17th. Click here for more information: https://imss.org/selva-aparicio-hysteria/

10/15/2020
Selva Aparicio: Velo de Luto

OPENING TOMORROW: 𝑯𝒀𝑺𝑻𝑬𝑹𝑰𝑨, a solo exhibition by Spring 2020 Artist-in-Residence Selva Aparicio.

Aparicio's work poses questions about women’s place in broader society. In the Museum’s Obstetrics and Gynecology gallery, Aparicio exhibits her iconic Velo de Luto, or Mourning Veil (pictured below), made of seventeen-year cicada wings (Magicicadas) sewn together with the hair of two generations of women who have struggled in a patriarchal society. The joining of wings serves as a metaphor for the decay of life, both literally through the wings of the cicada and figuratively through the veil traditionally imparted on women who have lost husbands and sons. From Aparicio’s perspective, it is through these remnants, often left decaying and discarded as the cast-offs of death and loss, that we learn the most about life and are able to reclaim and reimbue age-old symbols with new meaning.

Visit 𝑯𝒀𝑺𝑻𝑬𝑹𝑰𝑨 beginning tomorrow, Friday, October 16th!

Tomorrow is the final day to apply for the Spring IMSS Artist Residency! 🎨⁠As artistic practice occupies an increasingly...
10/14/2020
Apply to the Artist Residency

Tomorrow is the final day to apply for the Spring IMSS Artist Residency! 🎨⁠

As artistic practice occupies an increasingly pluralistic field, The International Museum of Surgical Science believes that artists are uniquely equipped to extrapolate on Museum collections in innovative ways and introduce novel perspectives to the institutional depiction of medical history. The IMSS Artist Residency Program provides working artists with access to the Museum’s extensive collections and archive, visibility on the Museum’s website and social media channels, and a month-long capstone solo exhibition (or equivalent presentation) at the Museum. The deadline is October 15th and the selected resident will be notified December 1st.⁠

Previous Artists-in-Residence have combined medical data visualization and 3D modeling to understand health trends, utilized found text from Victorian medical and surgery reference books to choreograph an experimental dance performance piece, and borrowed the strategies of quoting, sourcing, and bibliographing historic imagery from the Museum’s immense archive to explore relationships between the formal aspects of drawing and the symbolic networks surrounding the surgically opened, cut, or recompiled body.

Click below for more information.

About As artistic practice occupies an increasingly pluralistic field, The International Museum of Surgical Science believes that artists are uniquely equipped to extrapolate on Museum collections …

PREORDER SIGNED COPIES OF DARK ARCHIVES & THE BUTCHERING ART NOW!There are books out there, some shelved unwittingly nex...
10/11/2020
Dark Archives & The Butchering Art PREORDERS

PREORDER SIGNED COPIES OF DARK ARCHIVES & THE BUTCHERING ART NOW!

There are books out there, some shelved unwittingly next to ordinary texts, that are bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand? In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom, a librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world’s most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories?

On October 25th, 2020, at 2pm CST, the International Museum of Surgical Science is hosting a FREE, VIRTUAL author reading with Megan Rosenbloom in conversation with medical historian, author, and TV host Dr Lindsey Fitzharris. These two friends will discuss medical history, explore the English alleged human skin books, and reveal their adventures that were cut out of Dark Archives.

Signed copies of both books are available to preorder NOW in our online store! Click below 👇

Preorder signed copies of Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom and The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. EACH COPY WILL INCLUDE A BOO...

10/10/2020
#HalloweenFromHome: Napoleon’s Death Mask

Happy #SpookySaturday! It’s the kickoff of #HalloweenFromHome, our digital content series for the month of October. In lieu of an in-person gala this year, we are celebrating spooky season with digital explorations of some of the most morbid and macabre objects in our collection. First up: Napoleon’s death mask.

If our collections make you grateful for modern medicine, please help keep medical and surgical history alive by supporting the Museum this month. #HalloweenFromHome will be accompanied by two different auctions through eBay Charity, the first of which, our Adopt-A-Skull fundraiser, will go live on MONDAY, OCTOBER 12th. Stay tuned to bid on some incredible packages of items and experiences.

We hope you will stand with us and lend your support to our largest fundraiser of the year. Your participation ensures that the IMSS will be able to continue sharing the history of medicine and surgery and serving as a hub of scholarship, learning, and civic engagement in 2020 and beyond.

If you would rather support the IMSS through a direct donation to the Museum’s GoFundMe, please visit the link below to do so. Each donation over $50 in the month of October will receive two free tickets to visit the Museum.

Thank you for your support and stay spooky! Learn more about #HalloweenFromHome here: https://imss.org/halloween-from-home/

Address

1524 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL
60610-8157

Opening Hours

Monday 09:30 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:30 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:30 - 17:00
Thursday 09:30 - 17:00
Friday 09:30 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(312) 642-6502

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Our Story

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.