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“Great highlights tour”

Surgeons' Hall Museums
Ranked #22 of 395 things to do in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Surgeons' Hall Museums is an award winning Museum that is home to one of the largest and most historic pathology collections in the United Kingdom. Surgeons’ Hall Museums reopened in 2015 after a major £4.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment project. As one of the oldest Museums in Scotland, the collections grew from 1699 after 'natural and artificial curiosities' were publically sought. In the 1800s, the Museums expanded to include the remarkable collections of Sir Charles Bell and John Barclay, with the Playfair Building opening in 1832 to house these. Whilst the Museums were initially established as a medical teaching resource, all are now welcome to visit. The Museums are currently home to an extensive collection of pathology, anatomy and medical ephemera.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Went for the 2 pm highlights tour, on every Wednesday. Was very interesting and nice, extensive collection and informative guide. Tour lasted about 45 min, and perfect to look around before / after. Good for both medics and non-medics.

Thank flooere1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"body parts"
in 129 reviews
"human body"
in 93 reviews
"fascinating museum"
in 27 reviews
"medical science"
in 23 reviews
"modern medicine"
in 20 reviews
"strong stomach"
in 17 reviews
"sherlock holmes"
in 19 reviews
"surgical instruments"
in 14 reviews
"glass jars"
in 11 reviews
"burke and hare"
in 28 reviews
"on display"
in 55 reviews
"amazing collection"
in 13 reviews
"visited this museum"
in 11 reviews
"interactive displays"
in 16 reviews
"interesting place to visit"
in 14 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 34 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 19 reviews
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962 - 966 of 1,315 reviews

Reviewed July 12, 2013

Excellent. A very well laid out museum, larger than at first appears. The complicated history of surgery (barbers, surgeons, apothecaries and pharmacists) all clearly explained. You're likely to be surprised at how early some drastic surgical operations took place. Instruments to make you wince and wonder together with specimens showing gunshot wounds, cancereous growths and deformities, skin grafting, early replacement knees and hips to say nothing of hearts and valves and amazing disections that show the complicated patterns of blood vessels and nerves. It is so much more direct than seeing pictures in a book or on TV. More than one visit required to take it all in.
There are stairs (about 40) but no lift. For a WC I nipped into the cinema opposite before visiting the museum!

Thank Bittern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

A really well presented and interpreted, curious, museum stuffed with a bizarre mix of ghoulish/educational artefacts and materials. It's definitely not for the squeamish, but it's incredibly interesting and well worth a visit and every penny of the admission price. Ignore those who criticise the unusual entrance route - so what?! My only criticism is that I would like for more of the specimens on display to have been dated, or dated more clearly - I bet they're probably older than most people realise. I particularly liked (or is that the wrong word?) the objects with Burke and Hare associatons - grisly!

Thank Lauren P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

Visiting Surgeons' Hall at the RCS in Edinburgh was definitely one of the things on my 'to do' list whilst in that beautiful city. And I wasn't disappointed. I had visited the Hunterian Museum in London a few months before, and decided a trip to its Scottish counterpart would be worthwhile. After a short walk through the courtyard of the college, and up some rather ancient-looking steps, I gained entry to the museum for just a £3 concession as an NHS worker (youngsters and senior citizens also have the same benefit).

The history of anatomy in Scotland (in particular in Edinburgh) is explained concisely, with a number of intriguing historical artifacts, as well as an extraordinary treasure trove of anatomical and pathological specimens. As one would expect, due note is paid to the body snatchers of the 1800s without the sensationalism which could so easily have taken over in a less tasteful establishment.

What struck me about many of the exhibits in the museum was the significant link with warfare in Britain and Europe - countless broken bones, complete with embedded musket balls in situ, really bringing to life (no pun intended) the seriousness of trauma pathology, and the horror of battle.

All-in-all, a visit to Surgeons’ Hall is an educational experience I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the form and function of the human body. Be prepared to view some amazing sights which explain in great detail the wonder and the variety which exists within our own species. And remember to spare a thought for all those who have gone before – the dissectors and the dissected, the curators and the artists – who have given so much to the art of science.

Follow the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh on twitter @RCSEd

Thank DrRossAtkinson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 1, 2013

The museum itself is very interesting- for me the highlight was a video interview with Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Also some good detail on the "resurrectionists".

Thank settlers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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