Surgeons' Hall Museums
Surgeons’ Hall Museums (SHM), part of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, houses one of the largest and most historic collections of artefacts charting the history and development of surgery. The collections include surgical instruments and artworks and one of the largest collections of anatomical specimens in the world. These specimens are displayed in the Wohl Pathology Museum, which is located within the iconic building designed by William Playfair in 1832.
All of the exhibits which have made SHM world-famous will be back on display: including a pocket book made from the skin of the infamous murderer, William Burke; and exhibits relating to Dr Joseph Bell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s teacher and main inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, the highlight of which is a letter from the author crediting his mentor as such.
The reopened SHM, whose transformation has been supported by a £2.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will also feature even more interactive and display exhibits, which will help visitors from all around the world discover the stories and breakthroughs that have shaped modern surgical practice.
Museum, Heritage site
7 days a week 10am-5pm.
£6 Adults. £3.50 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
Coming of Age - The Legacy of Dolly at 20
- 1 September 2016 From 5:30pm
Spend an evening at Surgeons' Hall with Professor Sir Ian Wilmut (University of Edinburgh), Professor Angelika Schnieke (Technical University Munich) and Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Shinya Yamanaka (Kyoto University) as they discuss the impact that the birth of Dolly the Sheep had on science. Discover how Dolly still inspires research around the world today and put your questions to our prestigious panel. Take the opportunity to find out about the fascinating research going on right here in Edinburgh at our drinks reception following the discussion.
Tickets include access to the Museums from 5.30pm with the talk commencing at 7pm.
- Any age
Drawing the Collection with Edinburgh Sketcher
- 19 September 2016 10:30am-1pm, 2-4:30pm
For the September Bank Holiday, join Edinburgh Sketcher to sketch the fantastic collections of Surgeons' Hall Museums at The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh Sketcher is famous for his distinctive illustrations of Scotland's beautiful capital using a wide range of mediums including ink, watercolour, pencil, oil paint, charcoal and collage. Don't miss out on this is a unique opportunity to learn from one of Edinburgh's very best illustrators in this intimate class.
Thanks to feedback we received we have increased our drawing classes to two and a half hours each.
- Any age
- Family friendly
£6 adult; £3.50 concession rate
Museums at Night - Printmaking Workshop
- 28 October 2016 12:30-3:30pm
Anatomical engravings and atlases were used for teaching and the sharing of information. This drop-in workshop will highlight items from the Collection held by the Library at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Visitors will have the opportunity to create their own anatomically inspired prints to take home with them.
Drop-in workshop included in Museum admission cost. £6-adults, £3.50 concessions (NHS staff with ID, Students with ID, Over 60's & under 16's)
Preserving the Flesh: The Art of Displaying Anatomical Specimens
- 28 October 2016 5-6pm, 6:30-7:30pm
As part of Museums at Night, we are proud to present our first ever preservation workshop. This adult only workshop will give you the chance to learn about the techniques involved in preserving specimens. You will then get the chance to put knowledge into practice and take home your own preserved lamb's heart in a presentation jar. The ticket includes access to the Museums, which are open until 8pm.
This workshop will be led by the Museums' Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving.
Concessions £7 (these include students with ID, NHS staff with ID and Over 60's)
Concertina Book Making Workshop with Susie Wilson
- 29 October 2016 10am-2pm
Surgeons' Hall welcomes Susie Wilson back to the Museums this October as part of Museums at Night. This family friendly workshop will look at ways of designing and making a concertina book. Drawings will be made using mixed media techniques inspired by the museum collections. Printmaking, drawing and collage will be combined to create unique folded books with pockets and places to hold keepsakes.
This workshop is suitable for all ages and abilities.
- Family friendly
£6 concessions (these include students with ID, NHS staff with ID, Over 60's and under 16's)
Breaking the Heart: Dissection Workshop For Adults
- 29 October 2016 4:30-5:30pm, 6:30-7:30pm
This workshop is open to all over 18, and you don't need prior knowledge of medicine to try your hand at dissection. The class takes a hands-on look at the structure and function of the mammalian heart. Using a pig heart, participants will dissect out the path of the blood revealing the chambers and their associated vessels and valves. The dissection will be led by Professor Ken Donaldson and Museum Learning Officer Anna Downie who will discuss the function of each intricate part of the heart and what happens when it goes wrong.
£7 concessions (these include students with ID, NHS staff with ID & Over 60's)
Surgeons' Hall Museums
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
18 Nicolson Street
0131 527 1711