Discover Edinburgh Things to Do in Edinburgh Museums Surgeons' Hall Museums


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Edinburgh EH8 9DW

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The Surgeons' Hall Museums in Edinburgh is home to two museums dedicated to the world of surgery and pathology, namely the Surgeon's Hall Museum on the lower floor and the Museum of Pathology on the upper floor. Housed in the Royal College of Surgeons (the world's oldest dating from 1505) in Nicolson Street in the heart of the city, this intriguing museum exhibits one of the most prolific and oldest collections of artefacts and apparatus pertaining to surgical pathology in the UK.

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Over the years, the museum’s collection has steadily increased thanks to the generous donations of fellow surgeons and conservators of surgical apparatus. Not only are each exhibit designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of surgical students but also to generate awareness of surgery and medicine amongst the general public.

A good starting point to the visitor experience is the Surgeon’s Hall Museum on the ground floor (closed during examination days) where you will discover a new permanent exhibition related to Sports Surgery, namely Sport, Surgery and The Well Being. As the first college in Europe to establish a specialised faculty dedicated to sports injuries and surgery, visitors have the opportunity to uncover the formation of sports surgery and medicine and its transformation over generations to promote increased performance in both professional and amateur circuits of sport.

The Surgeons' Hall Museums also educates visitors with the history of Surgery within a Scottish context at the History of Surgery in Scotland permanent exhibition, containing early artefacts from 16th Century to modern day surgical equipment with specific examples used in various branches of surgery. Visitors can have hands-on experience of key-hole surgery using a specialised unit that is utilised in modern day practice.

The museum is also home to the Dental Collection, one of the UK’s finest collections of dental instruments and equipment unveiling the evolution of dentistry from the beginning to today’s context. Prolific dental historian and Glasgow dentist, John Menzies Campbell was instrumental in the development of dentistry and was responsible for a large proportion of this magnificent collection, having bequeathed a series of instruments, models and engravings that he developed at the pinnacle of his career. Discover other engaging dental artefacts and instruments used in other parts of the globe and how their dental methods differ from ours.

Situated in the upper floor of the Royal College of Surgeons above the Surgeon's Hall Museum, the Pathology Museum houses an extensive collection of materials used in the study of pathological anatomy and contains a host of valuable resources for students and visitors alike, including a wealth of material that explores human disease and infection. Visitors are requested to contact the museum in advance should they wish to visit the Pathological Museum. Alternatively, why not arrange a guided tour prior to visiting the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons and be inspired by the in-depth surgical knowledge of the museum's curators.