Surgeons' Hall Museums

The Wohl Pathology Museums at Surgeons' Hall Museums
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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.

Venue Type:

Museum, Heritage site

Opening hours

7 days a week 10am-5pm.

Admission charges

£6.50 Adults. £4 Concessions.


  • International Council of Museums
  • Museums Association

Additional info

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.

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
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Heart, Coeur, Corazon

Heart, Coeur, Corazon

  • 1 April 2017 — 31 March 2018 *on now

Throughout history, and across every culture, the heart has been portrayed in a huge variety of ways. This exhibition explores the rich cultural significance and the anatomy of the heart. By using our collection, we can highlight what happens when something goes wrong and how medical interventions can be used to repair it.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Included in regular Museum admission charges


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.
Dance of Death

Soutra - A Cabaret of Pestilence

  • 27 — 29 October 2017
Sorry, fully booked


Join us for A Cabaret Of Pestilence, a multi-disciplinary showcase event, the culmination of our Heritage Lottery Funded project, Soutra: Surgery & Superstition which features as part of the Museums at Night weekend and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Inspired by Soutra, the Scottish medieval monastic hospital, early surgery and medieval communities and superstition in Scotland, A Cabaret of Pestilence is a walking tour with a twist! You will be taken on a journey from the old Netherbow Well on the Royal Mile, through the winding streets of Edinburgh, to Surgeons’ Hall Museums, on the way hearing tales of witches, disease, monastic healthcare and medieval apothecaries.

During this guided tour you will be entertained by professional tour guides, storytellers, actors, a gospel choir and community participants. The tour will last approximately 70 minutes and afterward there will be access to Surgeons’ Hall Museums where there will be special activities until 10pm.

Start place: Netherbow Wellhead (Beside John Knox's House & the Scottish Storytelling Centre), Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

Start time: 7.00pm - Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the tour starts. Tours will last for 70 minutes, before finishing at Surgeons' Hall Museums, with access until 10pm.

Please note that this is a walking tour, which will be partially outdoors. Please dress accordingly.

This is a recurring event will take place over 3 nights and spaces are limited.

Soutra: Surgery & Superstition is an HLF funded Stories, Stones & Bones programme developed in collaboration with DigIt!2017, TRACS and Mercat Tours as part of #HHA2017

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+


£9 adult/£6.50 conc


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


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.