Surgeons' Hall Museum

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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 September 2015 Surgeons’ Hall Museums will reopen following completion of a £4.3 million redevelopment project – The Lister Project.

The Lister Project will transform Surgeons’ Hall Museums into a modern, public space allowing us to use our internationally important collections, amassed since the 15th century, to tell the history of medicine and surgery.

This is the first time that the building has been radically altered since 1908. New displays and galleries will be created which will allow us to double the number of items on display. Innovative audio-visual and interactive elements will also allow us to showcase our collections to the best possible effect.

The Playfair-designed building is also currently being conserved with delicate stonework repairs being carried out on the exterior. New contemporary additions, such as a glass atrium entrance will provide the public with easier access to the Museum and its exhibits.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

The Museum is closed for redevelopment until September 2015

Admission charges

Museum currently closed.


  • 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

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

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

logo: Museums at Night


Museum Homepage




0131 527 1711

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.