The International Museum of Surgical Science, 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.
If you stand facing the trephined skulls, the second room on the left side contains a collection of anatomical drawings. Take a look at the Rembrandt reproduction on the wall. This is a copy of a painting called “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” (1632).
Dissections were popular events in the 17th century, and would have been accessible not only to medical professionals, but also to members of the public who paid a fee to get in. They were held in large anatomical theaters that could accommodate 200-300 people on several levels of observational balconies. These theaters also held objects of curiosity such as medical instruments, animal hides, and human skulls. Check out our scale model of the anatomical theatre of Padua, just to the left of the painting, where public dissections would have taken place.