Located in the historic Countiss Mansion, the IMSS is North America's only museum devoted to surgery.
The International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS), a division of the International College of Surgeons (ICS), maintains over 10,000 square feet of public galleries committed to the history of surgery, and an exquisite permanent collection of art and artifacts from the history of Medicine. The Museum supports its Mission through medically themed exhibitions and programs, in addition to a strong contemporary art exhibition program.
The Mission of the Museum is to enrich people’s lives by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of the history, development, and advances in surgery and related subjects in health and medicine.
In support of this, we are committed to:
· Portraying through exhibits and other appropriate media, the art and science of surgery, and related subjects.
· Providing programs and services for the education and enjoyment of the public, students, and the medical profession.
· Preserving our collection for the education, inspiration, and aesthetic enrichment of future generations.
· Gaining recognition as a leader among medical and health museums worldwide.
Medical artifacts, apparatus and instruments comprise the bulk of the material in the Museum’s collections. Over 7,000 medical artifacts spanning centuries of worldwide medical history, from acupuncture to X-ray therapy, are represented in the collections.
Among the exceptional artifacts are an Austrian amputation saw with reversible blade (c. 1500); original X-rays taken by radiology pioneer Emil Grubbé (c. 1910); the Lindbergh perfusion pump, which enabled doctors to keep organs functioning outside the body, invented by the renowned aviator Charles Lindbergh and Nobel Prize-winning surgeon Alexis Carrel (1935); and a unique collection of trephined skulls from ancient Peru.
Fine art is featured in the collections through over 600 paintings, prints and sculptures, primarily portraits of individuals and historical depictions of specific procedures or events. Highlights include a portrait of Dr. Edward Jenner by John Russell (1790), and a plaster cast made from the death mask of Napoleon (1821). Significant artworks were commissioned by the Museum for the collection in 1950-53 including the Hall of Immortals and Hall of Murals. The Italian painter Gregorio Calvi di Bergolo (1904-1994) was commissioned in 1953 to paint 12 mural panels in oils for this room to illustrate the development of surgery throughout the ages. The Museum’s Hall of Immortal statues are attributed to sculptors Louis Linck and Édouard Chassaing.