Tucked away in a former mansion along Lake Shore Drive, is one of the most fascinating science museums around. The Museum of Surgical Science. The stated mission of the museum is to enhance the public’s appreciation and understanding of health and medicine with a special focus on encouraging young people to consider a career in science. While noble, it also happens to be very cool.
We recently brought Big & Middle back to the museum when my parents were in town. Everyone in the group loved the experience. On the ground floor, we were all fascinated by the replica of an 1890’s apothecary. Middle particularly liked pressing the button for an audio recording of a pharmacist explaining about the lotions, salves and powders that they would have made in the 1800’s in a shop such as this.
On the second floor, Big was asking all sorts of questions about the real “iron lung” on display. It was neat to watch my dad talk to him about polio and the role of the iron lung.
There are also incredible displays on the history of medical instruments. Again, it was cool to watch my dad explain to us all that for a period of time from the mid 1920’s to the 1960’s, shoe stores around the country were equipped with shoe fitting fluoroscopes. Yes, they were basically taking x-rays of customer’s feet to check the fit of the shoe before purchase. And my dad remembered doing this as a kid! So crazy!
As we walked through the museum, the boys kept thanking their lucky stars that they were seeking medical treatment in this day and age. They loved the gall and kidney stone exhibit…who knew they could grow so big?..OUCH!
There is admittedly some medical content such as fetal development and abnormalities, and the history of amputations, that might be best for the tween and above crowd, but it is intelligently well marked and easily avoided if you wish. Middle went through all the exhibits but you should decide what is right for your family.
If you do have a science minded child, you might also like to read about one of our favorite stores– the American Science & Surplus store.
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610 USA Open Tues-Sun. Check their website for hrs.