advertisement

Although it’s not quite as macabre as Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, the International Museum of Surgical Science will be of interest to those with an appreciation for the weird, as well as surgeons and others in the medical field. Tucked into a 1917 Gold Coast mansion—the last lakefront one open to the public—and modeled after Le Petit Trianon at Versailles, it does feel rather odd to wander the quiet, elegant rooms with eight fireplaces while gazing at specimens in jars, old cringe-inducing surgery videos, prosthetics, bloodletting devices, X-ray machines, and plenty of scalpels. It’s a great place to pick up facts that could win you the next round at Trivial Pursuit, such as my personal favorite: Before sutures were created, ants were used to close wounds. In the 10th century b.c., an ant was held over a wound until it bit the edges. “The ant was then decapitated and the death grip from the ant’s jaws kept the wound closed.” In addition to more than 7,000 medical artifacts, there are galleries that showcase art with ties to medicine, and a new exhibit called “RX for Success” highlights the many medical careers associated with modern and ancient surgery. Allow 1 hour.