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Chicago, IL

Obscura Society IL: Surgical Curiosities: Rare Books and Selections from the Permanent Collection

Explore the IMSS's incredible collections in this intimate three-part series.

Explore the IMSS's incredible collections in this intimate three-part series.

In this three-part series of second Friday evening sessions, explore rare books from the International Museum of Surgical Science collections in the intimate setting of its historian lakefront mansion library, guided by two of its stewards. With the aid of archival materials, rare texts, human remains and some of surgery’s grizzliest instruments, please join us as we investigate the 5,000+ year long history of one of medicine’s most unusual and mysterious practices.

March 11-Trephining and Cranial Amulets

Trephining (also known as trepanning or “burr-holing”) is the surgical process of drilling, scraping or cutting a hole into the skull, with the intent to expose the dura mater of the brain below. Widely regarded as the earliest example of surgical intervention in human history - evidenced on the skulls of prehistoric peoples - this primordial practice endured well into the modern era. Despite little evidence as to its efficacy in treating the range of physical (and sometimes spiritual) maladies it was historically alleged to cure, it remains practiced in niche communities to this day.

April 8-Medical Illustration/ Anatomy 

May 13-Gynecology 

BYOB (Wine and Beer) reception follows event in the Hall of Immortals.

This event is hosted by Atlas Obscura Field Agent Amy Weber. She is a dedicated national and international traveler. She enjoys the challenge of getting on a plane and letting life just happen. With over 15 solo tours under her belt she knows the joys of exploration and finding that something extra that makes the experience spectacular. Being grown up she now is limited to two weeks of vacation so exploration around her backyards is her jam.  

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