United States



International Museum Of Surgical Science

The Museum opened to the public on September 9, 1954. One of the first exhibits to be installed was the Hall of Immortals, containing twelve large stone statues of great figures in the field of medicine and the allied sciences. In further reverence to great scientists, surgeons and discoveries of the past, a Hall of Murals was created with a series of large paintings depicting the development of surgical science through the ages.

In 1959, the Museum marked the dedication of galleries devoted to France, Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands, with many more of these national rooms inaugurated over the ensuing years. The founding leaders of the Museum hoped to make the collection meaningful to the public by organizing exhibits by nation. Each room, hallway, and stair landing were devoted to one nation or region's historical collection with the intention of tracing a particular nation's contribution to surgery.

Beginning in 1990, new exhibits were developed based on historical themes and surgical disciplines. This type of exhibit provides a more appropriate historical context for the collections. Several national rooms are still extant (Netherlands, Spain, Latin America, Canada, Japan) but the contributions of individuals and nations are now integrated throughout exhibits such as Radiology, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Urology, and Heart Surgery, totaling 22 exhibit galleries on the Museum's four floors.

Permanent Collection

The Universal Condition: Enduring and Alleviating Pain
Nearly every human being experiences pain at some point in life. This exhibit examines issues in the perception of pain and chronicles medicine’s quest to relieve it, from the ancient use of psychoactive plants to contemporary laser therapy, focusing on milestones such as the discovery of anesthesia.

Milestones in Medical Imaging: 21st Century Medicine
Radiopharmaceuticals, the gamma camera, the PET scanner, and the balloon catheter have revolutionized the world of medical imaging. These new imaging technologies form the basis of 21st century medicine, allowing doctors an unparalleled look inside the body.

Nursing: Care for a Changing World
From the wise women of ancient ceremonies to certified medical specialists, nurses have made their own path in the world, innovating and organizing to bring care from the operating table to the battlefields. Nursing has rarely been more important than today and remains a profession ever striving for new roles to care for the world.

The Japan Hall of Fame
Japanese surgeons have exported many great medical advances around the world, pioneering such surgical frontiers as ultrasound, anesthetics and surgical stapling. This exhibit highlights many of the contributions Japanese surgeons have made to modern surgical science.

Milestones in Medical Imaging: From X-Ray to Nuclear Medicine
“ I didn’t think, I investigated


The Museum’s four floors are filled with extraordinary artifacts, as well as paintings, illustrations and sculptures that interpret the primitive and modern healing practices of Eastern and Western civilizations. From early practices to today’s revolutionary techniques, the Museum’s collections and exhibitions portray the mysteries, breakthroughs, failures, and milestones that have shaped modern surgical science. Museum exhibits are installed according to theme or surgical discipline.


$8 Adults

$4 Students

$4 Seniors

Museum Members are Free.

Opening hours

October through April

Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

The Museum is closed on Sunday and Monday.

May through September

Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

The Museum is closed on Monday.

The Museum is closed on the Fourth of July,
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day,
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Getting there

Directions via 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.
Directions by car

Going NORTH on Lake Shore Drive:

* Exit at the LaSalle/North Ave. Exit.
* Take a left off the ramp. Take another left onto Southbound Local Lake Shore Drive. The Museum is on the first block, on the right.

Going SOUTH on Lake Shore Drive:

* Exit at the LaSalle/North Ave. Exit.
* From the ramp go straight through the light onto the Southbound Local Lake Shore Drive. The Museum is on the first block, on the right.

From the Kennedy Expressway:

* Exit at the North Ave Exit. Travel east on North Ave.
* Turn right on State Street.
* Turn left on Burton. Burton ends at Lake Shore Drive, turn left.
* The Museum is on the first block on the left.

From the Dan Ryan:

* Take the Dan Ryan North to the Kennedy Expressway. Exit at North Ave.
* Travel east on North Ave.
* Turn right on State Street.
* Turn left on Burton. Burton ends at Lake Shore Drive, turn left.
The Museum is on the first block on the left.

Limited parking is available in a lot behind the Museum.

Parking is also avai...+ [ Read all ]

Museum internal and external photos (1)

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School Field Trips

Field TripThe International Museum of Surgical Science is housed in a historic mansion on Lake Shore Drive. It features exhibits from around the world that trace the fascinating story of surgery's development through the ages. The Museum's collections, appropriate for grades 5 and up, include art and artifacts that deal with surgery as well as history, science, health, and cultural studies. A field trip to the Museum can be used to complement classroom topics ranging from human anatomy, to medical careers and ancient civilizations.
Field Trip Activities

Groups can sign up for a combination of these activities with a visit to the Museum.

Teachers are sent a copy of one of these self-guided tour booklets when they book a visit. It should be copied distributed and used to guide the students on their tour of the Museum.

Careers in Medicine
This tour explores a variety of medical careers from a historical perspective. State Goals 13 & 22

Advances in Medicine
This tour focuses on objects that illustrate the major advances that made modern surgery possible and the people who made them. State Goals 13 & 22

Anatomy and Physiology
Student use the Museum’s exhibits to further explore anatomy and physiology. State Goals 12 & 13