The International Museum of Surgical Science, located in Chicago’s Gold Coast, is one of those museums thats borderline creepy. Seeing modern medical equipment is enough to scare me, but historic equipment is over the top.
The museum is housed in a 1917 mansion designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw and was built for Eleanor Robinson Countiss. It was modeled after Le Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles in France. It opened to the public in 1954. In addition to its collection of medical equipment, it has an extensive collection of medicine and surgery related artwork on display. Admission is US$15 for adults. It’s closed Mondays.
Visitors are greeted by a sculpture called Hope and Help by Edouard Chaissing. It creeped me out before I even walked in the front door.
There are several excellent exhibits on various topics ranging from childbirth to x-rays, anesthesia to amputation, and nursing to stapling. It was very thorough.
As I mentioned, many historic tools and artifacts were on display, including an iron lung, amputation kits, and wheelchairs. I also got to see jars of huge gallstones and kidney stones which wasn’t a good idea before lunch.
A highlight was the 4,000 year old Peruvian skulls with holes in them. The holes were created with simple tools to release evil spirits while the patients were still alive! Bone tissue growth proves the patients survived the procedure.