Hunterian Museum, London

Hunterian Museum, London Discover the art and science of surgery from ancient times to the present day.
(374)

The Hunterian will be closed to the public until early 2023 as part of the major redevelopment of the College of Surgeons. When we reopen we look forward to welcoming the public into new fully accessible spaces that will tell the history and ongoing story of surgery.

17/11/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍👇

Have you ever broken a bone? How was it treated?

Today, broken bones are carefully aligned to ensure that they heal in the correct position. This can be done by putting a limb in a cast or, with severe fractures, using plates and pins to keep the bone in place.

Without this, bones might heal in a very abnormal position, such as in this case - a thighbone (femur) fractured into multiple pieces (a comminuted fracture).

This individual would have had a shortened leg, although the pieces of thighbone were firmly held together with new bone.

Excited for Ridley Scott's upcoming film Napoleon ?Come to the Hunterian Museum and discover what surgery was like durin...
03/11/2023

Excited for Ridley Scott's upcoming film Napoleon ?

Come to the Hunterian Museum and discover what surgery was like during the Napoleonic Wars - amputations, gunshot wounds and surgery at sea.

A talk by Mr Michael Crumplin - retired consultant surgeon, world authority on surgery during the Napoleonic Wars and media expert advisor, including to film Master and Commander

📅Monday 20th November 2023
⏰19:00–20:30

Exclusive pre-talk access to the Museum is included (17:00 - 18:50)

Book Now - https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/surgery-during-the-napoleonic-wars

Specimens in Focus 🔍 Nine-banded armadillo fetus, nearly fully developed This armadillo dates from 1760 to 1793, when it...
01/11/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

Nine-banded armadillo fetus, nearly fully developed

This armadillo dates from 1760 to 1793, when it was prepared by (or for) John Hunter

Nine-banded armadillos are from North, Central and South America. Adults have an armour like shell, however they are born with soft shells that gradually grow stronger.

BOOK NOWLiving Autopsy📅9th November 2023⏰19:00–20:30With the help of a live model and a set of autopsy instruments, Dr S...
27/10/2023

BOOK NOW

Living Autopsy

📅9th November 2023
⏰19:00–20:30

With the help of a live model and a set of autopsy instruments, Dr Suzy Lishman describes how pathologists examine the body.

Exclusive pre-talk access to the Museum is included (17:00 - 18:50)

Book tickets now!

https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/living-autopsy

🎟️🎟️🎟️TONIGHT🎟️🎟️🎟️ Still some tickets available!  Come and hear Liz share her unique perspective and extraordinary stor...
25/10/2023

🎟️🎟️🎟️TONIGHT🎟️🎟️🎟️

Still some tickets available!

Come and hear Liz share her unique perspective and extraordinary story

Late entry to the Hunterian Museum included!

Hunterian Museum Evening Event 🎟

The Breast Surgeon who got Breast Cancer - Dr Liz O’Riordan
Wednesday 25th October 2023
19:00–20:30

Dr Liz O’Riordan shares her unique perspective and extraordinary story as a breast surgeon who got breast cancer

Includes exclusive pre-talk access to the Hunterian Museum from 17:00 to 18:50

Book Now!

https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/the-breast-surgeon-who-got-breast-cancer-dr-liz-oriordan

STARTS TOMORROW!Drawing Discoveries: Half term art activitiesCome along and discover more about the natural world throug...
23/10/2023

STARTS TOMORROW!

Drawing Discoveries: Half term art activities

Come along and discover more about the natural world through the sense of touch

Draw what you can feel and find out interesting fun facts along the way. Then see how closely your drawing looks like the real thing!

Tuesday 24th October, Wednesday 25th October, Thursday 26th October and Saturday 28th October

11:00 to 15:30 in the building atrium

Drop-in activity of around 30 minutes

Suitable for families with children aged 6+

Sessions are free - just book a standard free museum entry ticket

https://ow.ly/Bm6S50PVVRr

Specimens in Focus 🔍 At first glance, this wagtail and her nest of young could be taxidermy It is actually suspended and...
19/10/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

At first glance, this wagtail and her nest of young could be taxidermy

It is actually suspended and preserved in fluid – in this case 70% alcohol.

It was prepared by John Hunter between 1760 and 1793, making it over 200 years old.

What is trephination? In trephination, or trepanning, a hole is drilled or sawed into the skull. It is one of the oldest...
17/10/2023

What is trephination?

In trephination, or trepanning, a hole is drilled or sawed into the skull. It is one of the oldest recorded surgical procedures, with evidence from the prehistoric New Stone Age.

This skull with a trephine hole was found in a Roman burial site near Mediolanum (now Whitchurch, Shropshire, UK). It dates from about 400CE, around when Roman rule ended in Britain. This patient probably died shortly after the operation, as there is no evidence of healing. At the time, reasons for the procedure included head injuries, epilepsy, headaches and paralysis.

In 18th century Britain, trephination was still a key specialist surgical skill – this case of trephining instruments dates from the late 1700s. The operation was used to treat skull fractures and relieve pressure within the skull.

Today, surgeons can perform a similar procedure – burr hole surgery, where small holes are drilled into the skull. Reasons for this include releasing pressure after a brain bleed.

1. Human skull with trephine hole, from a Roman burial site, c.400 CE; Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England
2. Set of instruments for cranial trephination, late 1700s; Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England

🍂🍁Autumn Evening Events at the Hunterian Museum 🍁🍂As the nights draw in, join the Hunterian Museum for a season of eveni...
16/10/2023

🍂🍁Autumn Evening Events at the Hunterian Museum 🍁🍂

As the nights draw in, join the Hunterian Museum for a season of evening talks.

Exclusive pre-talk access to the Museum is included with every ticket (17:00 - 18:50)

1. The Breast Surgeon who got Breast Cancer

📅25th October 2023
⏰19:00–20:30

Dr Liz O’Riordan shares her unique perspective and extraordinary story as a breast surgeon who got breast cancer.

https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/the-breast-surgeon-who-got-breast-cancer-dr-liz-oriordan

2. Living Autopsy

📅9th November 2023
⏰19:00–20:30

With the help of a live model and a set of autopsy instruments, Dr Suzy Lishman describes how pathologists examine the body.

https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/living-autopsy

3. Surgery during the Napoleonic Wars

📅20th November 2023
⏰19:00–20:30

Find out what the reality was like for servicemen and surgeons in the bloody fields of battle with Mr Michael Crumplin, retired consultant surgeon and world authority on surgery during the Napoleonic Wars.

https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/surgery-during-the-napoleonic-wars

Drawing Discoveries: Half term art activitiesCome along and discover more about the natural world through the sense of t...
13/10/2023

Drawing Discoveries: Half term art activities

Come along and discover more about the natural world through the sense of touch.

Draw what you can feel and find out interesting fun facts along the way. Then see how closely your drawing looks like the real thing!

Tuesday 24th October, Wednesday 25th October, Thursday 26th October and Saturday 28th October

11:00 to 15:30 in the building atrium

Drop-in activity of around 30 minutes

Suitable for families with children aged 6+

Sessions are free - just book a standard free museum entry ticket

https://hunterianmuseum.org/whats-on/events/drawing-discoveries-half-term-art-activities

Two weeks time!Book now - https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/the-breast-surgeon-who-got-breast-cancer-dr-liz-oriordan
11/10/2023

Two weeks time!

Book now - https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/the-breast-surgeon-who-got-breast-cancer-dr-liz-oriordan

Hunterian Museum Evening Event 🎟

The Breast Surgeon who got Breast Cancer - Dr Liz O’Riordan
Wednesday 25th October 2023
19:00–20:30

Dr Liz O’Riordan shares her unique perspective and extraordinary story as a breast surgeon who got breast cancer

Includes exclusive pre-talk access to the Hunterian Museum from 17:00 to 18:50

Book Now!

https://hunterianmuseum.org/events/the-breast-surgeon-who-got-breast-cancer-dr-liz-oriordan

Specimens in Focus 🔍 Rows of shark teeth! These are pieces of jaw from a great white shark, the world's largest predator...
11/10/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

Rows of shark teeth!

These are pieces of jaw from a great white shark, the world's largest predatory fish.

Sharks have rows of biting teeth – with even more forming behind, gradually moving forward to replace teeth that blunt and fall out.

Up Close and Medical is THIS SATURDAY at the Museum of the Order of St John🗓️14 October⏰11 - 3pmHave a go at surgical su...
09/10/2023

Up Close and Medical is THIS SATURDAY at the Museum of the Order of St John

🗓️14 October
⏰11 - 3pm

Have a go at surgical suturing with the Hunterian Museum! 😷 🪡

Led by medical and surgical volunteers, discover more about the lives and skills of doctors and surgeons today.

The whole event is free and features lots of amazing institutions!

Specimens in Focus 🔍 How many placentas do twins have? Identical twins (monozygotic) develop from a single fertilised eg...
05/10/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

How many placentas do twins have?

Identical twins (monozygotic) develop from a single fertilised egg that splits in two. Depending on when the split occurs, identical twins may have completely separate placentas or share a single placenta with two umbilical cords, as in this specimen.

Non-identical twins (dizygotic), which develop from two separate fertilised eggs, have a placenta each!

This specimen dates from 1760-93 when it was dried and varnished to protect and preserve it.

What do you do when you are not feeling well? 💊😷This painting shows a recovering serviceman, Private Thomas Walker, maki...
02/10/2023

What do you do when you are not feeling well? 💊😷

This painting shows a recovering serviceman, Private Thomas Walker, making a quilt out of material sourced from army uniforms.

Walker was wounded in the head by a shell burst while fighting in the Crimean War (1853–56) and underwent surgery on his skull to insert a silver plate to replace a piece of missing bone.

The painting was made when Walker was recovering at Fort Pitt Hospital, Chatham, England, where he was one of several patients visited by Queen Victoria.

Private Thomas Walker by Thomas William Wood, 1856 - Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons of England

Specimens in Focus 🔍 Surgeon and anatomist John Hunter collected thousands of specimens throughout his lifetime and was ...
27/09/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

Surgeon and anatomist John Hunter collected thousands of specimens throughout his lifetime and was fascinated by all creatures. Including those in his own garden!

Hunter described finding this Hawk-moth laying its eggs on a mulberry tree in July 1791. He wrote, ‘I took the moth into the house with a part of the leaf, with some of the eggs on it, with a view to preserve it as a preparation’.

It remains on display in the Hunterian Museum over 230 years later.

This pill can photograph your insides!Swallowed like any other tablet, this disposable pill camera passes naturally thro...
20/09/2023

This pill can photograph your insides!

Swallowed like any other tablet, this disposable pill camera passes naturally through the digestive tract, capturing images of the intestine.

Fitted with a tiny camera, battery, light and transmitter, it sends the photos to a mobile data recorder. A specialist can then analyse the images.

Pill cams can visualise parts of the intestine that are difficult to reach with traditional endoscopy, where long, thin tubes with cameras are passed into the body.

Kindly donated to the Hunterian Museum by Medtronic

Specimens in Focus 🔍Whalebone 🐋 🦴 These are baleen plates from the mouth of a minke whale, for filter-feeding. They were...
15/09/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

Whalebone 🐋 🦴

These are baleen plates from the mouth of a minke whale, for filter-feeding. They were prepared by John Hunter between 1760 and 1793

Baleen is also known as whalebone - even though it is actually made of keratin, which also makes hair and nails!

In the 1700 and 1800s, whalebone was used to structure corsets and stays. These stays are from the 1780s, designed to make the wearer's body a 'fashionable' inverted cone shape.

Images
1. Baleen plates from a Minke Whale, 1760-1793, Hunterian Collection
2. Stays, 1780-1789, Great Britain, ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O115752/stays-unknown/

Specimens in Focus 🔍 Cauda Equina, Human The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skul...
07/09/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

Cauda Equina, Human

The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs from the base of the skull down the back. It is shorter than the spine, ending above the level of the umbilicus (navel), at the second lumbar vertebra.

Below the spinal cord, nerves continue in a bundle called the cauda equina, Latin for ‘horse’s tail’. In this specimen, the nerves have been unravelled, making the resemblance even clearer.

Specimens in Focus 🔍This unusual specimen was coughed up by a patient in the 1700s. They are bronchial casts, where mucu...
31/08/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

This unusual specimen was coughed up by a patient in the 1700s. They are bronchial casts, where mucus has taken the shape of the patient's airways.

The patient may have had a lung condition such as tuberculosis or pneumonia, but there are a wide range of other causes.

Specimens in Focus 🔍 This is a human thighbone (femur) from the 1700s. It is abnormally curved and bent – what condition...
24/08/2023

Specimens in Focus 🔍

This is a human thighbone (femur) from the 1700s.

It is abnormally curved and bent – what condition might have caused this?

Write your answers and guesses in the comments, the correct answer will be posted this afternoon

ANSWER
This individual had rickets in childhood, caused by vitamin D deficiency which leads to a softening of the bones, causing them to bow and bend.

Rickets was a common disease in the 1700s, as poverty and overcrowded cities contributed to child malnutrition and lack of access to sunlight, which is needed by the body to make vitamin D.

Surgical fashion – a history!Today surgeons wear blue or green scrubs and gowns – but they used to wear white, like in t...
22/08/2023

Surgical fashion – a history!

Today surgeons wear blue or green scrubs and gowns – but they used to wear white, like in this portrait of a surgeon from 1926.

Surgeons started wearing white gowns in the late 1800s. Before this surgeons wore their everyday street clothes to operate, maybe with an apron to protect their suits from splatters!

With an increased understanding of the role of bacteria in infection, surgeons began to cover their clothes with sterile white gowns and wear caps and gloves, protecting their patients from germs.

Since the 1960s, blue or green gowns and drapes have been used – these colours provide better visual contrast and cause less eye strain.

Today surgeons wear ‘scrubs’ beneath their sterile gowns – two piece V-necked tops and drawstring trousers. ‘Scrubbing in’ is when a surgeon sterilises themselves before operating.

Images

1. Ivor Back by Sir William Orpen, 1926, RCSEng Collections
2. Robert Liston operating in 1846 by Ernest Board, 1912; Wellcome Collection
3. Operating theatre, Great Northern Central Hospital, 1912; Wellcome Collection
4. Still from ‘Heart transplant’, Insight special, 1981; Wellcome Collection
5. Still from ‘The Operation’, 2022; Hunterian Museum, RCSEng

Address

Royal College Of Surgeons, 35/43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London
WC2A3PE

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 6pm
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm

Telephone

+442078696560

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Hunterian Museum, London posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Hunterian Museum, London:

Videos

Share

Category


Other Science Museums in London

Show All