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

The Museum is closed for redevelopment until 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

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