Surgeons' Hall Museum

Surgeons' Hall Museum
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
18 Nicolson Street


Museum Homepage



Museum Reception

0131 527 1711

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Surgeons' Hall houses one of the largest and most historic collections of surgical pathology in the World. Developed as a teaching museum for students of medicine, its fascinating collections, including bone and tissue specimens, artefacts and works of art, have also been open to the public since 1832, making it Scotland’s oldest museum. The History of Surgery Museum traces the story of surgery in Scotland from 1505 to the present day through objects, images and artworks. The Pathology Museum is the oldest purpose-built museum that still houses its original collection in Scotland. The Dental Museum incorporates the outstanding object and art collection of Menzies Campbell, and is one of the top dentistry collections in Britain.

In 2012 the Museum was host to the exhibition "Watching on the Heights: The Life and Work of Joseph Lister" and the "60 Years of Surgery" exhibition launched for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. In 2013, Surgeons' Hall Museum hosted a new exhibition, entitled "Women in Warfare", which was launched to conincide with the "Women in Warfare: From Troy to the Trenches". This exhibition ran until December 2013.

Note: The museum displays human remains which some people may find unsettling. The recommended is 10+; under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Currently the Museum is open from 10am – 5pm, 7 days a week.

The Museum will be closed for redevelopment from 18th May 2014 – Summer 2015

Admission charges

Full: £5
Child / concession with ID: £3
Family concession: Two paying adults and up to three children (under 16s) go free)
NHS workers: £3


  • International Council of Museums
  • Museums Association

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.

Collection details


Key artists and exhibits

  • Charles Bell
  • Joseph Lister
  • Robert Liston
  • Robert Knox
  • Burke and Hare
  • James Young Simpson
  • William Playfair
  • William Henry Playfair
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

The Great Exhibition

  • 17 May 2014 10am-5pm

This is the final chance to visit the fantastic collection at Surgeons’ Hall Museum before it closes for major redevelopment and we're promised that special guests will be appearing. Celebrate the Museum as it was, create your own artworks and tell us all about your favourite things in the museum! Don your white coat and channel your creativity with a spot of architectural drawing, pathology modelling, forensic skull drawing and bookmaking. There will be a public vote for the most popular artwork and you might even win a prize AND have the honour of having your creation displayed in the Museum!


The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

The Great Exhibition

  • 17 May 2014 10am-7pm

From 18th May, the Museum will be closing for redevelopment. On our final day we will be celebrating the Museum as it was and giving you the chance to create artworks and express your views about your favourite parts of the museum. Try your hand at architectural drawing, pathology modelling, forensic skull drawing and bookmaking

There will be a chance to display your artwork in the Museum for public vote, winners will be announced at 4:30pm. Prizes can be won and special guests will be appearing!