The Ether Dome.

Ether Dome

Field review by the editors.

Boston, Massachusetts

Plan carefully before attempting to visit the Ether Dome, the historic site of the first use of anesthesia in a surgical procedure. The Ether Dome is in Massachusetts General Hospital, and God help any who think they'll find convenient parking. Taking the "T" is recommended.

Once inside the hospital, helpful folks at the Info Desk will direct you to the proper elevator to the fourth floor.

The Ether Dome, an airy space lit from above by daylight, is immediately recognizable as one of those Hollywood medical lecture halls ("They all laughed at my theories, the fools!").


This is where Thomas W. G. Morton administered ether while Dr. John Collins Warren cut a tumor out of the neck of patient Gilbert Abbott on October 16, 1846. Names of important figures in the discovery of ether are inscribed on brass plaques on each seat.

The facility is actively used for lectures, and meeting evident from the powered lectern and data projector. If the stench of primitive anesthetics is still here, it has grown very faint.

The Ether Dome doesn't really have the cabinet-of-curiosities aura we were anticipating -- it's no Mutter Museum. However, there is an Egyptian mummy, a large marble statue of Apollo ...and a skeleton!

Ether Dome

Massachusetts General Hospital

55 Fruit St., Boston, MA
Downtown, north of Cambridge St. In Massachusetts General Hospital, 4th floor of the Bulfinch Bldg. Ask for directions at the Info desk.
Open when not in use for meetings. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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November 29, 2020

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