The Hunterian Museum

Displays at the Hutnerian Museum contain anatomical spcimines, many of which were prepared by the museum's founder - John Hunter - 200 years ago!
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The Hunterian Museum collections, brought together over four centuries by a cast of colourful characters including John Hunter (1728-1793), are a fascinating mix of comparative anatomy and pathology specimens; complete skeletons, bones, skulls and teeth; dried preparations, corrosion casts and wax teaching models; historical surgical and dental instruments together with modern surgical instruments and technologies; as well as paintings, drawings and sculpture.

The Hunterian Museum has undergone a £3.2 million refurbishment to create a publicly accessible museum that encourages visitors to explore the scientific, cultural and historical importance of the museum collections. The new Hunterian Museum enables visitors to share the wealth of material that has been a source of inspiration to surgeons, scientists and artists for over two hundred years. Come and be inspired!

This museum has a Designated Collection of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

The Hunterian Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

Admission charges

Admission is free and the museum is open to all.

Getting there

By tube: Holborn and Temple are our nearest stations

By train: The museum is not far from several mainline stations including Euston, Charing Cross and Waterloo

By bus: any route via Aldwych or High Holborn runs close to the museum, includes:
1, 4, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 23, 25, 26, 38, 55, 76, 98, 139, 172, 176, 242, 341

By cycle: there is a pick-up and drop off point for London's hired bikes behind the college on Portugal Street.

By road: London's congestion charges operate Mon-Fri 07:00-18:00.
The College is centrally located between, Fleet Street, High Holborn and Kingsway. Coaches can pick up and drop off immediately outside the museum.
Parking in Lincoln's Inn Fields is metered, more reasonable parking is at the NCP in Bloomsbury Square.
Disabled parking on site can be arranged by calling 020 7869 6400.

Additional info

Further information for disabled visitors

Access to the museum is via the two College entrances:

The main College entrance:
This entrance has six shallow steps up to the doors. There is an automatic door which opens sideways. The reception desk has a portable induction loop. Reception staff are happy to help with any access needs.

The Nuffield College of Surgical Sciences entrance:
This entrance is for visitors who are wheelchair users, have mobility problems or are unable to use steps. Entry is provided via an external access lift. Please use the call button in the lift and a porter will provide entry into the building.

There is level access throughout the museum spaces. The upper galleries can be reached by using a platform lift within the museum. Our staff are happy to provide assistance if you require it, please ask.
Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other assistance dogs are welcome in the Museum.
There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor of the main College building and two accessible toilets on the fourth floor of the main College building.

Disabled parking on site can be booked by calling 020 7869 6400

The Hunterian Collection is a Designated Collection of national importance.

At the heart of the Hunterian Museum is an astonishing 18th century medical collection. It is the legacy of the anatomist and surgeon John Hunter FRS (1728-1793), who built up an extensive museum which he used for teaching and for research on topics as diverse as the transplantation of teeth and the breeding of bees.

The collection reflects Hunter's wide-ranging network of correspondents, students and patrons - including Joseph Banks, Edward Jenner and Queen Charlotte - and contains paintings by artists such as George Stubbs and Benjamin West. After Hunter's death his collection was given to The Royal College of Surgeons, where over 3,500 Hunterian preparations are still displayed alongside many more gathered over the course of the last two centuries.

Collection details

Natural Sciences, Medicine, Fine Art, Science and Technology, Social History, Weapons and War

Key artists and exhibits

  • Joshua Reynolds 1723-1792
  • George Stubbs 1724-1806
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
MARTYN - neurosurgery training model

Exhibition: Designing Bodies - Models of anatomy from 1945 to now

  • 24 November 2015 — 20 February 2016

Practice makes perfect; and in a highly specialised and high-risk endeavour such as surgery, finding ways to practice is difficult. For centuries anatomists and surgeons have therefore used three-dimensional models of body parts in training, and have been especially imaginative in recent years.
This exhibition explores the design of striking anatomical models – of the brain, heart, lungs and limbs – held at the Royal College of Surgeons including corrosion casts, orthopaedic models, and neurosurgical training devices.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

Free entry, open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/exhibitions

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.
RCSSC/P 2532 Mezzotint portrait of John Thomas Quekett

Lunchtime Lecture: John Quekett, Victorian Microscopist

  • 11 August 2015 1-2pm

The microscope was at the forefront of medical science in the 19th century. However, the advances made in the instrument would have come to nothing without the techniques for preparing specimens for viewing. John Quekett was the most capable of those who developed these techniques, and he was the greatest communicator of them. In his short life he sliced, stained and injected everything and anything that came his way, from fossil pterodactyl bones to human skin nailed to church doors.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+
  • 14-15

Admission

£4 - booking essential on 020 7869 6568

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/lunchtime-lectures-and-evening-talks

RCSSC/P 267 Painting of an Indian rhinoceros, by George Stubbs, unsigned, c.1792.

Lunchtime Lecture: Jamrach's exotic menagerie

  • 8 September 2015 1-2pm

Building on the legacy of the menagerie owners and showmen of the 18th century, Jamrach’s menagerie was seen as ‘animal HQ’ and supplied its customers with all their animal needs, whether a pet, a scientific specimen, or the newest ‘star’ destined for the zoological gardens. This talk will focus on the history of exotic animal trade, paying particular attention to Charles Jamrach’s animal emporium and the insight it can offer into this curious industry.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£4 - booking essential on 020 7869 6568

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/lunchtime-lectures-and-evening-talks

Wikicommons image - Bethlem Hospital in St George's Fields by Thomas Shepherd

Lunchtime Lecture: 'Past Caring' - the History of Bethlem

  • 6 October 2015 1-2pm

'It was handed down to me by my father, and I do not know any better practice ...' So did Thomas Monro, superintendent physician, defend Bethlem's treatment of bleeding and purging when he was called before the parliamentary enquiry of 1815. Times and attitudes were changing however. From being a byword for chaos and disorder, Bethlem became much more forward looking, moving away from mechanical restraint and introducing a new treatment programme based on routine, occupation and an improved environment. Caroline Smith takes a look at the main features and changes in the hospital's long history of caring for the mentally ill.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£4 - booking essential on 020 7869 6568

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/lunchtime-lectures-and-evening-talks

RCSHM/Z 36 Case containing five vials of Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture, prepared by Robert Koch for display at the British Congress on Tuberculosis, 1901.

London Museums of Health and Medicine lecture: Finding Voices in the Medical Collection

  • 28 October 2015 6-8pm

For over a century medical museums have presented the history of clinical and scientific achievements, their collections celebrating the undeniable achievements of the heroes of modern medicine: Hunter, Jenner, Lister, Wellcome, Fleming. But what of their patients? What of the populations whose lives were impacted by vaccination, antisepsis and Penicillin? This lecture by RCS Museums and Archives Director Sam Alberti will review recent exhibitions and other artistic and historical projects that have interrogated medical collections to tell the patients’ stories.

Free but booking is essential on 020 7869 6568.

Events in association with the London Museums of Health and Medicine: www.medicalmuseums.org

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

Free but booking is essential on 020 7869 6568.

Events in association with the London Museums of Health and Medicine: www.medicalmuseums.org

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/special-events

RCSIC/R 20 Box containing 100 prosthetic glass eyes, made and owned by Mollie Surman, mid 20th century.

'Hands-on' with the London Museums of Health and Medicine

  • 28 October 2015 2-5pm

The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons hosts a drop-in event to celebrate medical collections around London.

Discover amazing objects from some of the medical museums of the London Museums of Health and Medicine network. Explore model body parts, medical and scientific instruments and diagnostic equipment. Examine rare books, try on antique spectacles or acquire some surgical skills with our interactive suturing activity.

Participating museums include Bethlem Museum of the Mind, British Red Cross Museum, British Optical Association Museum, Old Operating Theatre, Royal College of Physicians, Science Museum, Royal College of Nursing, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal London Hospital, Wellcome Collection and the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre.

Suitable for adults and families – all children must be accompanied.
Free drop-in event, no booking required.

www.medicalmuseums.org

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 5-6
  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+

Admission

Suitable for adults and families – all children must be accompanied.
Free drop-in event, no booking required.

www.medicalmuseums.org

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/special-events

Slide-making at Disease Detectives

Disease Detectives: A hands-on family workshop

  • 29 October 2015 11am-12pm, 1-2pm, 2:30-3:30pm

How do doctors identify disease and work out the best treatment for common illnesses? Working with real pathologists, you will be able to make your own microscope slides, encounter some larger-than-life disease-causing microbes, examine specimens and become a ‘disease detective’!

Organised in collaboration with the Royal College of Pathologists.

Suitable for families with children aged 10+ - all children must be accompanied.
Sessions last approximately 1 hour.
Sessions are free but booking is essential on 020 7869 6568.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 7-10

Admission

Sessions are free but booking is essential on 020 7869 6568.

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/family-activities

Glass Specimen Slide - 'HC35 Vampire Australia'

Museums at Night: The Great Small World of John Quekett

  • 30 October 2015 6-9pm

Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth of Victorian Microscopist Professor John Quekett and 150 years since the founding of the club that bears his name; this special event will celebrate the wonders of the microscopic world through talks, demonstrations and art workshops.

Make and examine your own slide under a microscope and discover the sometimes surprising structures of everyday things seen up close. See original Victorian ‘Wow’ slides and recreate the beautiful designs and delicate patterns of traditional mounted slides with our drop-in art session. View original archive materials and discover the role that microscopes have played and continue to play in surgery.

Organised in collaboration with the Quekett Microscopical Club: www.quekett.org

Free non-bookable event for adults and children aged 10 or over.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

Free non-bookable event for adults and children aged 10 or over.

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/special-events

RCSAC/ 271 Wax model of the head, neck, thorax and abdomen made by Joseph Towne, modeller at Guy's Hospital, mid to late 19th century.

Lunchtime Lecture: Wax Anatomies in the Medical Museum

  • 24 November 2015 1-2pm

Deep in the basement of a Victorian hospital, artist Joseph Towne worked for fifty years crafting exquisite human bodies in wax, a medium with an uncanny resemblance to human flesh. These striking sculptures continue to inform and enlighten to this day, but many of his techniques died with him. As a prologue to the Designing Bodies exhibition, RCS Museums and Archives Director Sam Alberti explores Towne and his waxes in their historical context and compares them with other models in modern medical collections.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£4 - booking essential on 020 7869 6568

Website

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/events/lunchtime-lectures-and-evening-talks

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

GCSE Medicine Through Time Workshop

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/learning-and-access/running-your-own-medicine-through-time-workshop

Working in small groups the students will use original objects from the museum and College library’s handling collections, library and archive source materials together with the objects and specimens on display in the museum to create a personalised tour that focuses on a particular element in the development of surgery, medicine and healthcare.
Class size: 30
Dates and times for these sessions can be found on our website http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/learning-and-access/

A template for a self-guided version of the workshop is also available to download.

How to obtain

Booking and further information: call 020 7869 6566
Sessions are free but voluntary contributions of £3 per student are suggested.

'A cutting edge career' - surgical skills workshops for Year 11-13 students

http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/learning-and-access

Do your students want to go to medical school?
Are they in the process of applying and need something extra for their personal statements?
Would they benefit from some tips for the interview?
You can combine a visit to the museum with an opportunity for your students to learn some basic surgical skills and the chance to find out more about a career in medicine and surgery from medical students, junior doctors and working surgeons.
Maximum numbers: 10-20
More information and dates for sessions can be found on our website.

How to obtain

Booking and further information: call 020 7869 6566
Cost: session is offered free but a voluntary contribution of £3 per student is suggested

Getting there

By tube: Holborn and Temple are our nearest stations

By train: The museum is not far from several mainline stations including Euston, Charing Cross and Waterloo

By bus: any route via Aldwych or High Holborn runs close to the museum, includes:
1, 4, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 23, 25, 26, 38, 55, 76, 98, 139, 172, 176, 242, 341

By cycle: there is a pick-up and drop off point for London's hired bikes behind the college on Portugal Street.

By road: London's congestion charges operate Mon-Fri 07:00-18:00.
The College is centrally located between, Fleet Street, High Holborn and Kingsway. Coaches can pick up and drop off immediately outside the museum.
Parking in Lincoln's Inn Fields is metered, more reasonable parking is at the NCP in Bloomsbury Square.
Disabled parking on site can be arranged by calling 020 7869 6400.

The Hunterian Museum
Royal College of Surgeons
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London
Greater London
WC2A 3PE
England

Website

www.hunterianmuseum.org

E-mail

Information and bookings

museums@rcseng.ac.uk

Telephone

Information and bookings

020 7869 6560

Textphone/Typetalk users

18001 020 7869 6560

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.
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