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“Absolutely fascinating” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Surgeons' Hall Museums

Surgeons' Hall Museums
Ranked #28 of 391 things to do in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Surgeons’ Hall Museums (SHM), part of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, houses one of the largest and most historic collections of artefacts charting the history and development of surgery. The collections include surgical instruments and artworks and one of the largest collections of anatomical specimens in the world. These specimens are displayed in the Wohl Pathology Museum, which is located within the iconic building designed by William Playfair in 1832. All of the exhibits which have made SHM world-famous will be back on display: including a pocket book made from the skin of the infamous murderer, William Burke; and exhibits relating to Dr Joseph Bell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s teacher and main inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, the highlight of which is a letter from the author crediting his mentor as such. The reopened SHM, whose transformation has been supported by a £2.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will also feature even more interactive and display exhibits, which will help visitors from all around the world discover the stories and breakthroughs that have shaped modern surgical practice.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Brecon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
181 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“Absolutely fascinating”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2012

Absolutely fascinating – really knowledgeable and helpful staff. Access is through the old college up some winding marble stairs (would be difficult if you were mobility impaired). Once inside there are some historic exhibits and dioramas but then you can move to the rear of the main halls and explore surgery progression and medical interventions from the past 100+ years, truly outstanding. Have a go a keyhole surgery, use the microscopes and review the old texts – highly recommended.

Visited November 2012
Thank HyddaMedras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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737 reviews from our community

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Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
157 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“unusual, twisted and interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

The surgeon's hall is located in Edinburgh's medical university and you have to walk past reception, thru some corridors and up the stairs to get there.
The exhibition is unusual as well, ranging from historical exhibits, preparations of limbs and bodies to modern medicine.
Some parts are really eerie, like examples of disease and wounds from past wars (amputated limbs of soldiers who participated in the battle of Waterloo).
Most unusual is a little book whose leather was fabricated from the skin of a serial killer.
Not recommended if you are with small children, highly interesting for people interested in medicine and bizarre things.

Visited November 2012
Thank nielshartgers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
103 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“A good summary of who's who in Scottish surgery”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2012

Difficult to find the way in initially - and you have to climb quite a few stairs to get there - which makes you wonder if you might need some surgical support when you arrive.
Well laid out museum on three different levels with a lot of interest in historical and more recent medicine and plenty of body parts in jars on display! It was good to discover some of the stories behind surgical breakthroughs - and there is plenty of explanation and pictorial presentation. There has been an attempt to make the exhibits more interactive with various pieces of equipment available to try out. One area had short video clips on specific aspects of medical interest - but they were not always audible or working. Not badly priced for £5 (adult) or £3 (concession) - and takes an hour or so to look round - longer if you decide to try out some of the equipment!

Visited November 2012
Thank Jean120557
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sudbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
240 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Fascinating insight”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2012

Brilliant displays of medical history - some you wouldn't really want to see but intriguing anyway. Lovely building and well kept. Definitely worth a visit

Visited May 2012
Thank frequentflyersuffolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inverurie, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Museum with a difference”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

Not for the faint hearted! Lots of interesting exhibits of surgery and medicine across the years. Well laid out with exhibits clearly numbered. Good value for money.

Visited October 2012
Thank Anne A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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