Surgeons' Hall Museum

Venue details
Nicolson Street
Edinburgh Area
Telephone (info)
0131 527 1711 (Front of House)
0131 527 1649/678 (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh)
About the venue

The Surgeons' Hall Museum, part of the Royal College of Surgeons complex on Clerk Street, houses Scotland's largest medical museum with one of the most significant surgical collections in the world.

The Pathology Museum is the oldest in Britain, containing human anatomical and pathological specimens from the late 18th century.

Other objects, images and artworks trace surgery's history from Roman times to the present including the breakthrough discoveries of antisepsis and anaesthesia, the curious development of false teeth and the chilling Burke and Hare murders.

Among the many more famous artefacts is a death mask of the "bodysnatcher" William Burke and a small book made of his skin, after he had been publicly executed and dissected.

Many of the body parts on display tell fascinating and often tragic stories.

In addition to the permanent exhibitions charting the history of surgery there are temporary exhibitions.

The museum is on two levels. Access to the top level is for guided tours and educational groups only.

The museum displays human remains which some people may find unsettling.


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