Surgeons Hall Museum, Edinburgh

Surgeons Hall Museums are known throughout the UK and beyond for housing one of the largest, and most historically important collections of surgical pathology material in existence. The museum was originally set up by the Royal College Of Nursing as a teaching museum for its medical students, and a space to house their collections of specimens and equipment. It has been welcoming visitors since 1832.

One of the key museum spaces inside the building is the Surgeons Hall Pathology Museum, which is located on the upper floor. Here visitors can explore a large anatomy collection, which is vital for the study of human disease. There’s also an additional space you can visit if you book a guided tour. Elsewhere you will find the History of Surgery galleries, which look at changes and advances in surgical practice through the ages, and Scotland’s part in that. Look out for information on the work of Lister and his discovery of antiseptic, and Syme and his work in pre-anaesthesia surgery. There’s also an exhibition called ‘Skin Deep’ which focusses on the ground-breaking developments in facial surgery. In the same area you can also find a sports medicine area and an interactive space where you can test your own keyhole surgery skills.

The Surgeons Museum also has galleries dedicated to their outstanding dental collection. Here you will find dental instruments and artefacts, including some very rare finds. Find out all about dentistry through the ages with this collection.

The Surgeons Hall Museum also runs a year round program of events and workshops. In 2012 these include Science Festival events in April, such as an ‘anatomy drawing day’, a ‘casualty stage make-up’ day in May, and an event in October to celebrate ‘black history day’, looking at African health practices. It may not be a museum for the faint-hearted, but with so much going on here, a visit is sure to be fascinating.

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