Opening Reception for GUT by Alexander Utz

Opening: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 6 – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610

The International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS) is pleased to present the new exhibition, GUT by Alexander Utz. The exhibition will open on May 6, 2022, and run through July 3, 2022. The Museum will host an opening reception on May 18, 2022, from 6-8:30 p.m. that is free and open to the public.

GUT: The story of a frontier army surgeon, a fur trapper, and the unlucky gunshot wound that changed our understanding of digestion.

On June 6, 1822, at the American Fur Company Store on Mackinac Island, among a group of fur traders, a musket accidentally misfired and hit a 19-year-old French-Canadian voyageur named Alexis St. Martin. Quickly rushed to the nearby Fort Mackinac hospital, St. Martin’s wound was cleaned and dressed by the fort’s surgeon, William Beaumont. At the time, Beaumont did not believe St. Martin would survive more than 36 hours, but the young voyageur miraculously began a slow recovery.

When the wound healed in a way that left an opening directly into St. Martin’s stomach, Beaumont saw an opportunity to learn more about the process of digestion. For the next 11 years, the two men would work together on a series of 238 experiments and studies that completely reshaped our understanding of the digestive process.

Explore this incredible story and learn from Chicago playwright Alexander Utz, author of the new play Gut, about how history is translated to the stage.

About the Artist: Alexander Utz is a Chicago-based playwright and actor, as well as a co-founder and Artistic Director of Avalanche Theatre. His plays have been read and performed with The Plagiarists, Otherworld Theatre, Bower Theatre Ensemble, Three Brothers Theatre, Benchmark Theatre, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Three Cat Productions, and 5th Wall Productions. His play Sunflowers is available through Next Stage Press. He is a resident playwright with Three Brothers Theatre. This summer, he will be participating in an artist residency on Mackinac Island to complete a final revision on his play Gut about William Beaumont and Alexis St. Martin.

Read more about Alexander Utz at


About the Contemporary Art Program: This exhibition is presented as part of the Museum’s Contemporary Art Program, “Anatomy in the Gallery.” The Museum supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in surgical science and our relationship to the body.

About the Museum: The International Museum of Surgical Science, a Division of the International College of Surgeons, was founded in 1954 by Dr. Max Thorek. The Museum is committed to enriching lives by enhancing an appreciation and understanding of the history, development, and advances in surgery and related subjects in health and medicine. The Museum is located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and is housed in a historic lake-shore mansion designed in the early 20th century by Howard Van Doren Shaw. 

General Information: The International Museum of Surgical Science: 1524. N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL - 60610; tel. 312.642.6502; on the web at and

Hours and Admission: The exhibition will be open Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except for most major holidays. Admission rates are $18 for adults and $14 for students, educators, military members, and seniors, with ID.