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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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'Women played such a key role in Mayo Clinic being here now'

'Women played such a key role in Mayo Clinic being here now'

Have you heard the story of Alice Magaw? Back in the early days of Mayo Clinic, she delivered 14,000 anesthetics without a single anesthesia-related death. Now known as the "Mother of Anesthesia," her research and clinical findings set new standards for safer delivery of anesthesia.

Or how about Dr. Isabella Herb? After becoming a widow at a young age, she decided to go into medicine. She went on to become one of the first female physicians at Mayo and the first to lead its pathology department.

Alice and Isabella are among the extraordinary women who you can find roaming the halls of the Mayowood Mansion this Saturday for the History Center of Olmsted County's second annual Women of Mayo: Living the History fundraiser.  

The event, inspired by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson's book Women of Mayo Clinicwill offer an interactive experience allowing attendees to meet with women whose contributions played a pivotal part in Rochester's history.

"Women played such a key role in Mayo Clinic being here now," said Patricia Carlson, the history center's executive director. 

To create a truly immersive experience, the actors will all show up in costumes having done their research on a particular woman in Rochester's history. For instance, you may meet Louise Mayo, who can tell you about her experiences running two businesses to support the family because her husband, W.W. Mayo, couldn't get enough work as a physician.

"For me, what was inspiring personally in the book is to see how many of these women not only had amazing careers or had a large impact on the community and the medical profession, they also were astounding mothers," said board member Christine Rule.

Guests will have the chance to get into character, as well. Each person who attends will receive a notecard with the story of one of the women featured in the book. It then becomes your job to bring that person to life.

"This is an opportunity to engage with history in a new way," explained Rule. "When we were talking about how to present the material, I really wanted to bring out the stories in a way that people would remember them."

To learn more about the times and ticket packages for Saturday's event, head over to the history center's website. Reservations are required and can be made by calling  (507) 282-944. All proceeds benefit the history center.

H/t to Aleta Maccini, the history center's marketing manager, who has done an awesome job sharing the stories of these women through a social media campaign. You can check out those posts here.

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