Title page of De Humani Corporis Fabrica

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International Museum of Surgical Science


This small but fascinating museum, set inside a former residential mansion facing the lake, is dedicated to the world of surgery and medicine. Exhibits demonstrate the amazing strides made in medical science throughout history, on subjects as diverse as eyeglasses, wound healing, anesthesia and X-rays, as well as the history of nursing. Artifacts range from creaky old limb prosthetics and rather intimidating antique surgical instruments to an actual iron lung.

Temporary exhibits seek to find common ground between medical science and art, such as one recent exhibit on a tattooist who covers mastectomy scars with beautiful designs to help breast-cancer survivors heal emotionally. Admission is free on Tuesday for Illinois residents.

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