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Surgeons' Hall Museums

Surgeons' Hall Museums Home to the largest & most historic collection of surgical pathology in the world.

Surgeons' Hall Museums was 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. Please note photography is prohibited in the museum in accordance with the Human Tissue (2006) Scotland Act.

Operating as usual

Our Learning Officer will be running a marshmallow challenge drop in session on Wednesday the 15th of Fbruary!Come along...
04/02/2023

Our Learning Officer will be running a marshmallow challenge drop in session on Wednesday the 15th of Fbruary!
Come along and see how tall a tower you can build using spaghetti, tape and one marshmallow.

https://buff.ly/3wTz3E8

This looks like it belongs in the garden but it is a tin spirit lamp is from the 19th century . It was used to burn the ...
03/02/2023

This looks like it belongs in the garden but it is a tin spirit lamp is from the 19th century . It was used to burn the air in cupping glasses prior to their application to the skin. The cooling of the air is thought to create a suction effect so the cups stick to the skin.

It was believed that your health was controlled by the 4 humors (or liquids)- blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. If the 4 fluids were "in balance" then you were in good health however, it was believed that if you were ill it was due to an imbalance of these fluids. It is easy to understand where this theory came from when you think of the appearance of fluids such as mucus, pus, diarrhoea and vomit during illness. A number of therapies were developed to increase the flow of these humours in sick and diseased people, including blood-letting, leeches, cupping and emetics.

When the Russian General Baron Driesen was shot in the knee at the Battle of Borodino in 1812, the musket ball remained ...
02/02/2023

When the Russian General Baron Driesen was shot in the knee at the Battle of Borodino in 1812, the musket ball remained lodged in his femur. The surgeon decided that the method of treatment would be to dissolve the leaden ball by pouring mercury into the wound, so that it could be simply flushed out.

Find out more about General Baron Driesen, the use of mercury for anatomical preperations and, mercury's connection to Alice in Wonderland in the latest blog from our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving.

https://surgeonshallmuseums.wordpress.com/2023/02/02/mercurial-anatomy/

(Image: 1865 Illustration of the Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by John Tenniel. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

We have lots of events coming up this month!We have very limited tickets left for our next Lunch Time Talk: Dr Robert Kn...
01/02/2023

We have lots of events coming up this month!

We have very limited tickets left for our next Lunch Time Talk: Dr Robert Knox- Beyond Burke and Hare.
Tickets for the 2023 RCSEd Library Lecture with BBC Health Corospondent Hugh Pym are also going fast!

Full information can be found here: https://buff.ly/2G5Drmq. For information on the 2023 Library Lecture with Hugh Pym please visit: https://buff.ly/3WW3d3W

It's time for another !This week we are looking for a word you will find in our Body Voyager gallery. Can you work out w...
01/02/2023

It's time for another !

This week we are looking for a word you will find in our Body Voyager gallery. Can you work out what it is?

A Weiss improved amputation saw from the 1850s. John Weiss improved amputating saws when he realised surgeons were being...
30/01/2023

A Weiss improved amputation saw from the 1850s. John Weiss improved amputating saws when he realised surgeons were being slowed down by tissue clogging the teeth of the saw blade. He designed the slots, like the ones on this blade, to help clear the teeth during the operation.

Our Blood and Guts: The Twists and Turns of Edinburgh's Medical History walking tours return tomorrow!Saturdays tour has...
27/01/2023

Our Blood and Guts: The Twists and Turns of Edinburgh's Medical History walking tours return tomorrow!
Saturdays tour has sold out & we have limted spcace available for Sunday!

The tours run every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and include museum admission:

https://buff.ly/3Y3HeJC

A letter opener made from wood taken from William Hare's house. On the item is written the inscription: "made from wood ...
27/01/2023

A letter opener made from wood taken from William Hare's house. On the item is written the inscription: "made from wood from Hare's house who murdered "Daft Jamie" in West Port of Edinburgh 1828.
Hare being part of the 'Burke and Hare' duo who murdered 16 known people in 1828.

Join us Monday February 13th at 5.30 pm for our 2023 Surgeons’ Hall Library Lecture, which will be presented this year b...
26/01/2023

Join us Monday February 13th at 5.30 pm for our 2023 Surgeons’ Hall Library Lecture, which will be presented this year by BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym.

Hugh’s great-aunt, obstetrician, gynaecologist and surgeon Frances Ivens CBE, was the first woman appointed to a hospital consultant post in Liverpool. Shortly after war commenced in 1914, Dr Elsie Inglis LRCSEd founded the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service and Ivens volunteered her services at Royaumont Abbey, 40 miles north of Paris, where she became Chief Medical Officer.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-womens-hospital-in-france-in-wwi-medical-role-models-pioneers-tickets-522514975357

This week's  comes from the Wohl Pathology Museum. Can you work out what it is?We'll reveal the answer tomorrow!
25/01/2023

This week's comes from the Wohl Pathology Museum. Can you work out what it is?
We'll reveal the answer tomorrow!

Novocaine has been used as a local anaesthetic from the early 20th century. Previous to this, co***ne was one of the mos...
23/01/2023

Novocaine has been used as a local anaesthetic from the early 20th century. Previous to this, co***ne was one of the most commonly used local anaesthetics.

This silver medal was awarded by James Young Simpson to George Hogarth Pringle as a student while at the University of E...
20/01/2023

This silver medal was awarded by James Young Simpson to George Hogarth Pringle as a student while at the University of Edinburgh Class of Midwifery, Session 1850-51, 'for very high merit as a pupil'.

We only have a couple of spaces left for Dissecting the Author: Megan Rosenbloom-Dark Archives.Join author Megan Rosenbl...
19/01/2023
Dissecting the Author: Megan Rosenbloom Dark Archives

We only have a couple of spaces left for Dissecting the Author: Megan Rosenbloom-Dark Archives.
Join author Megan Rosenbloom and our Human Remains Conservator Cat Irving as they discuss anthropodermic bibliopegy – the practice of binding books in human skin.
You can secure your place here: https://eventbrite.co.uk/e/dissecting-the-author-megan-rosenbloom-dark-archives-tickets-484320053317

Join this Zoom talk where we discuss the world of anthropodermic bibliopegy with the author of Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom

This catheter and retractor came from the SMS Moltke, a German battle cruiser involved in some of the major naval battle...
19/01/2023

This catheter and retractor came from the SMS Moltke, a German battle cruiser involved in some of the major naval battles of WWI. The SMS Moltke was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919. These instruments were found in 1927 when the SMS Moltke was brought up.

For  this week we are looking for a word from our History of Surgery gallery.Can you work out what it is?
18/01/2023

For this week we are looking for a word from our History of Surgery gallery.
Can you work out what it is?

The Battle of Corunna took place  in 1809. Civilian surgeon Charles Bell volunteered to treat wounded soldiers returning...
16/01/2023

The Battle of Corunna took place in 1809. Civilian surgeon Charles Bell volunteered to treat wounded soldiers returning to Britain. He later created these artworks which he used for teaching. Some of these paintings can be seen in our Wohl Pathology Museum

Adenocarcinoma, squamous carcinoma, and small cell carcinoma account for around 80-90% of all primary cancers arising in...
13/01/2023
Lung Cancer – progress towards ‘personalised medicine’.

Adenocarcinoma, squamous carcinoma, and small cell carcinoma account for around 80-90% of all primary cancers arising in the lung.
Find out more about lung cancer and how it's treated in this blog by Professor William Wallace.

In this blog, Professor William Wallace explores the different types of cancer that can occur in the lungs. This picture of a specimen within the pathology collection is of a left pneumonectomy (re…

A plaster cast taken during the autopsy of a woman who died following volvulus (obstruction of the bowel) due to a slipk...
12/01/2023

A plaster cast taken during the autopsy of a woman who died following volvulus (obstruction of the bowel) due to a slipknot of the intestine. The slipknot is the dark section on the model. The case was subject to an article in the British Medical Journal, July 29 1871.

This week we are looking for a word you might find in our History of Surgery gallery. Can you guess what it is?
11/01/2023

This week we are looking for a word you might find in our History of Surgery gallery. Can you guess what it is?

The set pictured dates from the 1800s and includes two cupping glasses, a sponge and a 12 bladed scarificator suggesting...
09/01/2023

The set pictured dates from the 1800s and includes two cupping glasses, a sponge and a 12 bladed scarificator suggesting this set was used for 'wet cupping'.

January can be a long and dreich month. However, we some great events taking place this month to lighten things up a lit...
07/01/2023

January can be a long and dreich month. However, we some great events taking place this month to lighten things up a little!

You can find out more information on our upcoming events here: https://buff.ly/2G5Drmq

This bezoar was removed from the stomach of a 16 year old female who had been in the habit of chewing heather while herd...
06/01/2023

This bezoar was removed from the stomach of a 16 year old female who had been in the habit of chewing heather while herding cattle on her father’s croft. The foreign body measures 75mm (L) x 30mm (D). It was removed by longitudinal enterotomy. The patient made a full recovery.

This prosthetic left arm is from 1930. It has been articulated to fixed positions at the elbow and wrist by a series of ...
05/01/2023

This prosthetic left arm is from 1930. It has been articulated to fixed positions at the elbow and wrist by a series of mechanical locking levers. It is highly likely that this prosthesis was made in the orthopaedic workshops of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Edinburgh.

We reopen tomorrow at 10am!We can't wait to welcome you all to the museum throughout 2023 😀 https://buff.ly/3H7VCcj
03/01/2023

We reopen tomorrow at 10am!

We can't wait to welcome you all to the museum throughout 2023 😀

https://buff.ly/3H7VCcj

This complete set of upper and lower ivory dentures are believed to be from the 18th century. They are held together by ...
30/12/2022

This complete set of upper and lower ivory dentures are believed to be from the 18th century. They are held together by steel springs and swivels. Dentures like these would usually begin to blacken within a year due to saliva. As they broke down they would start to smell.

Tuberculin was claimed to be a cure for Tuberculosis. However, once in general use, it was shown to be ineffective.  You...
29/12/2022

Tuberculin was claimed to be a cure for Tuberculosis. However, once in general use, it was shown to be ineffective.
You can read more about the story of Robert Koch and tuberculin in our blog from Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson: https://buff.ly/3dqSnSA

This set of surgical instruments belonged to Captain A.J. Scott who served in the China Navigation Company, around 1900-...
28/12/2022

This set of surgical instruments belonged to Captain A.J. Scott who served in the China Navigation Company, around 1900-1925. His ship the SS. Anking was captured by pirates shortly after his retirement. The 1st mate was killed & the Chief Engineer thrown overboard to the sharks.

In April, our Human Remains Conservator took a look at the history of treatment for breast cancer. You can read it here:...
27/12/2022

In April, our Human Remains Conservator took a look at the history of treatment for breast cancer. You can read it here: https://buff.ly/37A4MkD

For more information on how to check your breasts please visit: https://buff.ly/2ERuFLq

This case of amputation instruments was used by Robert Liston between 1815 and 1825 and was made by Stodart of London. T...
26/12/2022

This case of amputation instruments was used by Robert Liston between 1815 and 1825 and was made by Stodart of London. The knives are of the type used for circular amputation.

William Burke was found guilty of the murder of Margaret Docherty  in 1828. The trial began on Christmas Eve and carried...
25/12/2022

William Burke was found guilty of the murder of Margaret Docherty in 1828. The trial began on Christmas Eve and carried on through the night. Burke received the death sentence and it was ruled his body would be dissected following ex*****on. (📸 / Wellcome Collection)

We are now closed for the year!We will be ready to welcome you all back at 10am on the 4th of January.
23/12/2022

We are now closed for the year!

We will be ready to welcome you all back at 10am on the 4th of January.

As we get ready to close our doors for the final time in 2022, we take a look back at the last year.https://buff.ly/3HDB...
23/12/2022
A Look Back at the Year

As we get ready to close our doors for the final time in 2022, we take a look back at the last year.

https://buff.ly/3HDBuBn

As we get ready to close our doors for the final time this year we’ve decided to take a little look back on the last year. The beginning of 2022 was filled with a little uncertainty as the pa…

In September we put a surgically removed Transvaginal mesh implant on display. It was donated by  and it serves as a phy...
22/12/2022

In September we put a surgically removed Transvaginal mesh implant on display. It was donated by and it serves as a physical and poignant reminder of a significant period in women’s health. You can read more here:https://buff.ly/3BlDMkW

Bone forceps by Simpson, Edinburgh, designed by Robert Liston.This is said to be the instrument which James Syme lent to...
22/12/2022

Bone forceps by Simpson, Edinburgh, designed by Robert Liston.

This is said to be the instrument which James Syme lent to Baron Guillaume Dupuytren - the surgeon who treated Napoleon Bonaparte's hemorrhoids - on his first visit to Paris in 1822.

This is a male Ascaris lumbricoides, a large roundworm, which is the most common type of worm in humans. It has inserted...
21/12/2022

This is a male Ascaris lumbricoides, a large roundworm, which is the most common type of worm in humans. It has inserted its head through one of the links of a chain which had been swallowed by its host, the two passed from the bowel together.

Dr Robert Knox died  in 1862, following a stroke during his sleep. Knox was one of the most popular lecturers on anatomy...
20/12/2022
Tales from Surgeons' Hall: 7 Things You Didn't Know about Dr. Robert Knox

Dr Robert Knox died in 1862, following a stroke during his sleep. Knox was one of the most popular lecturers on anatomy in Britain at the time but he is now remembered for his association with murderers Burke & Hare. You can learn more about him here:

Dr. Robert Knox has become synonymous with serial killers Burke and Hare but there was a lot more to him and his career. In this video our Senior Research Fe...

Who doesn't love a board game at Christmas? Jazz things up a little with this set of dice which make a fantastic little ...
19/12/2022

Who doesn't love a board game at Christmas? Jazz things up a little with this set of dice which make a fantastic little stocking filler.
We are open from 10am-5pm until the 22nd of December. We will close at 3pm on the 23rd of December and will reopen at 10am on the 4th of January.

Address

Royal College Of Surgeons Of Edinburgh, Nicolson Street
Edinburgh
EH89DW

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm

Telephone

+ 44 131 527 1711

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⭐THIS WEEK'S PATREON EPISODE⭐ sees us go down the road of gruesome as we welcome our second guest from Surgeons' Hall Museums in the form of Curator Louise Wilkie.

Have you ever heard that famous tale where showboating Victorian surgeon Robert Liston sweeps into the surgery theatre and with a showmanship arrogance says "Time Me Gentlemen!" and prcoeeds to kill three people in the same operation? Liston's 300% fatality rate?

Well Louise calls shenanigans on this one.

Subscribers can listen at: https://www.patreon.com/posts/louise-wilkie-on-74312783

If you're not a subscriber then you can join the Angry Mob where you'll get episodes 3 months early, the invite to put questions to future guests, entry into every monthly book draw we do and the coveted History rage Mug. You can join up at: https://www.patreon.com/historyrage
Lots of photos from our latest OPTIMA Showcase yesterday at Surgeons' Hall Museums, Surgeons' Lodge, and dancing provides by the wonderful Teannaich Ceilidh Band. Thank you to everyone for coming.
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Our S2 pupils enjoyed a cross-departmental trip to Edinburgh on October 5 and 6, with a packed agenda that included visits to the National Museums Scotland, Dynamic Earth, and the Edinburgh Dungeon.

They also took part in the History of Anatomy workshops at Surgeons' Hall Museums, where they learned how to suture with stitches, and joined City of the Dead Tours for a terrifically terrifying walking ghost tour.

A great time was had by all, and we hope to see this become an annual fixture on the school calendar.
We want to visit in December - could you give open /close times please?
If you're heading to Surgeons' Hall Museums today, you'll find some family drop-in activities included as a bonus in your admission ticket. The sessions are 10.30am-12pm and 1pm-3pm.

Maths Week Scotland continues in to the weekend, with our biggest programme yet of in-person events across Scotland.

Highlights for Saturday include...

Maths Attack! family activities at Lauriston Castle

Nifty Navigation Dino's Club drop-in day at Dynamic Earth

The Maths of Ship Design at Scottish Maritime Museum

Edinburgh Maths Circle with University of Edinburgh, School of Mathematics

Guided Walk Maths Trail at University of Stirling

Forensic Maths drop-in sessions at Surgeons' Hall Museums (included in admission)

Family drop-in activities at Stockbridge Library and Aberdeen City Libraries

Town Trails across various locations in Dumfries & Galloway

Self-led maths trails at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, National Museums Scotland & The Scottish Fisheries Museum

Please note that the programme differs for Sunday. Check out our Event listing below for full details of what's on in your area today!
HUGE THANKS to Louise Wilkie, Curator of the Surgeons' Hall Museums in Edinburgh for sparing us the time to record tonight about Robert Liston and the History of Surgery.

Do you cling to the famous story of Robert Liston performing an operation with a 300% mortality rate? Well think again.

Coming in the new year.
Today is and unfortunately we don't have a cat.

But we do have our first ever guest who is Cat Irving from the Surgeons' Hall Museums in Edinburgh, and she does wear black, and we appreciate her. She joined us just under a year ago for our first ever episode

https://pod.fo/e/130a67

A toasty Surgeons' Hall Museums for Julie and John!

You know where your client chooses Rebel Rebel as their first dance (and their cake topper is as bold as this one!), that you’ll be in for a great night!

Congrats guys!! 💜
Chris Henry, Surgeons’ Hall Museums Director of Heritage and Edward Halealoha Ayau of Hui Iwi Kuamoʻo.

The delegation of members from Hui Iwi Kuamoʻo and OHA will travel on to London and Belfast for other iwi kupuna repatriation ceremonies.

More info https://bit.ly/38P0c2e

Surgeons' Hall Museums
Chris Henry, Surgeons’ Hall Museums Director of Heritage and Edward Halealoha Ayau of Hui Iwi Kuamoʻo.

The delegation of members from Hui Iwi Kuamoʻo and OHA will travel on to London and Belfast for other iwi kupuna repatriation ceremonies.

More info https://bit.ly/38P0c2e

Surgeons' Hall Museums
This week, as part of their work in History and Science, 8D went to the Surgeon's Hall Museum. We started by looking at some historical surgical instruments and tried to work out what they were used for.

Mr Ronan, ex-Cargilfield Head of Science and current Learning Coordinator at the museum, then showed us how an amputation would have been carried out. At the end of the afternoon, we spent a while exploring the museum; the pupils were particularly interested in the goreier parts of historical surgery and in the use of robotics in modern surgery.

Surgeons' Hall Museums
Attending conference at Surgeons Quarter or visiting Surgeons' Hall Museums?

Grab yourself a fabulous breakfast from our fabulous Cafe 1505 at Surgeons Quarter 😍
All set up and ready to go for our second Lego Robotics Workshop of the day at Surgeons' Hall Museums
Busy prepping for our workshops at Surgeons' Hall Museums

If you're in the Edinburgh it's well worth a visit over the Easter holidays.
x

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