Surgeons' Hall Museums
The award winning Museums are open to the public, 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm and are home to one of the largest and most historic pathology collections in the United Kingdom.
Surgeons’ Hall Museums reopened in 2015 after a major £4.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment project. As one of the oldest Museums in Scotland, the collections grew from 1699 after 'natural and artificial curiosities' were publically sought, with the Playfair Building opening in 1832 to house the Barclay and Bell collections. Whilst the Museums were initially established as a medical teaching resource, all are now welcome to visit.
Museum, Heritage site
7 days a week 10am-5pm.
£7 Adults. £4 Concessions.
- International Council of Museums
- Museums Association
Toilets - There are toilets in the basement. All toilets are fully accessible.
Restaurants and cafés - The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is home to Café 1505 and the Ten Hill Place Hotel & Wine Bar.
Baby Changing - Baby changing facilities are in the basement floor.
The museums contain objects in 9 main categories: anatomical and pathological specimens; casts and models; histological preparations; furniture; paintings and other works of art; photographic prints and slides; voice, video and other recordings; surgical and other instruments; and miscellaneous items.
Medicine, Weapons and War
Key artists and exhibits
- Charles Bell
- Joseph Lister
- Robert Liston
- Robert Knox
- Burke and Hare
- James Young Simpson
- William Playfair
- William Henry Playfair
Comic Book Creation Workshop
- 29 September 2018 11am-4pm
For hundreds of years Edinburgh’s dark and fascinating medical history has inspired writers and illustrators alike. Join graphic novelist Edward Ross for a comic book storytelling workshop. Learn top tips for comic book storytelling, tour the Surgeon’s Hall museum in search of inspiration, and then create a comic book story of your own.
No experience necessary, just a love of drawing and storytelling.
Chinese Medicine and Wellbeing-Drawing Inspiration from Chinese Ink
- 11 October 2018 7-9pm
After her successful Pain and Healing Chinese Ink workshops, Yujun Xu is returning to Surgeons’ Hall Museums to deliver this intimate talk which will explore the connection between Chinese art and medicine. The talk will look at the use of traditional Chinese healing techniques such as herbal remedies and acupuncture as well as the philosophical Taoist concepts of Yin-Yang and Qi and the role they play when it comes to healing. Yujun Xu will also discuss how these techniques and concepts have been interpreted by artists like Zhang Yanzi, whose current exhibition ‘A Quest for Healing’ is on display at Surgeons’ Hall Museums.
In order to further investigate the links between Chinese art and medicine, there will be an art demonstration where attendees will get an opportunity to try Chinese ink painting using a soft brush.
All welcome, no requirement in painting skill or medical knowledge.
Yujun Xu is currently a PhD Candidate in intercultural learning at the University of Edinburgh. She has been involved in a variety of cross-cultural projects at The Confucius Institute of Scotland. She has been involved in planning and liaising with different stakeholders by participating and leading successful intercultural art-based conferences, projects, university workshops and community service work.
The talk will last approximately 1 hour followed by museum access until 9pm.
The Edinburgh 7: A Celebration
- 26 — 27 October 2018 7-9pm
As part of Museums at Night 2018, writer and historian Dr. Elaine Thomson will host an evening of history, performance and song celebrating Sophia Jex-Blake and the Edinburgh 7. Dr. Thomson will be joined by an array of professional Actors, Musicians and members of the Phoenix Soul and Gospel Choir who will be performing highlights from a new musical, the Edinburgh 7, from the award winning John and Martin Kielty and Jordanna O’Neill.
The Edinburgh 7 were the first group of matriculated undergraduate female students at any British university. Lead by the formidable Sophia Jex-Blake, the Edinburgh 7 began studying medicine at Edinburgh University in 1869. Unfortunately their studies did not run smoothly. Hear about the academic successes, riots, court cases, famous supporters and adversaries, that the Edinburgh 7 endured in their struggle to open University Education to women.
The event will be around 1 hour in length and will include Museum access until 9pm.
Surgery and Emotion in the Pre-Anaesthetic Era
- 5 November 2018 7-8:30pm
RCSEd Library and Archives present: Surgery and emotion in the pre-anaesthetic era: John Bell, James Gregory and the Edinburgh ‘medical war’
In 1800, the medical community of Edinburgh was convulsed by a highly public row between James Gregory, Professor of the Practice of Physic at the University, and the surgeon-anatomist John Bell. This dispute originated in a disagreement over the nature of surgical attendance at the Royal Infirmary, but, as this talk will demonstrate, it developed over the course of nearly ten years, into a much more profound discussion of the nature of surgical practice and identity. In his response to Gregory, John Bell articulated a vision of surgery as a compassionate profession rooted in the embodied experience of pain and suffering. In so doing, he sought to reshape the public image of surgery and challenge the stereotype of the surgeon as an uncaring butcher.
Dr Michael Brown is Reader in History at the University of Roehampton and the author of Performing Medicine: Medical Culture and Identity in Provincial England, c. 1760-1850 (2011) as well as numerous articles on the history of medicine and surgery. He is currently a Wellcome Trust Investigator, leading a four-year project entitled Surgery & Emotion which explores the relations between surgery and the emotions from 1800 to the present.
Staging Frankenstein: Nick Dear in conversation
- 26 November 2018 7-9pm
Playwright Nick Dear discusses his 2011 Frankenstein adaptation for the National Theatre. This widely seen production starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller in alternating roles as Victor and the Creature and was directed by Danny Boyle. Join us for conversation and questions chaired by playwright and scholar Dr Donna Soto-Morettini (Edinburgh Napier University) as the final event for The Age of Frankenstein project. Keep up with all the latest news from the project by following @200Frankenstein
Following the talk there will be museums access until 9pm
Surgeons' Hall Museums
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
18 Nicolson Street
0131 527 1711