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“Interesting!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Surgeons' Hall Museums

Surgeons' Hall Museums
Ranked #27 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
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Interesting!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2013 via mobile

We read about this museum and thought we'd go and have a look; glad we did, it was really interesting! I'm in the medical profession and really enjoyed all the specimens, my husband isn't in this field of work, but still found it intriguing. There is so much to look at, and for £5 entry it's well worth a look, we spent over 2 hours there. My favourite was the ' Burke skin book', as I've only learnt this story during my Scotland visit! Visit this museum if you're tired of visiting "normal" museums!

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1 Thank 255103Laura82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Really interesting”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2013

This was a place I was really looking forward to visiting but my husband wasn't, however, we both really enjoyed it and found it very interesting. It is a bit out of the way but well worth it. It's £5.00 per adult but there are concessions including NHS staff so bring some ID if you qualify.

Visited October 2013
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Thank Paulat202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Hard to find but well worth it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2013

Even our taxi driver hadn't heard of this place and the main gates were shut with directions to walk around the back up a rickety old staircase but inside was a lovely little gem of a museum, reminded me a little of the Wellcome Collection in London but possibly more artwork, lovely little museum and really worth the effort to go. Unless you are of a squeamish nature of course. Keep an eye out for events as they run workshops in the museum - I went to a bookbinding one which was fantastic. Very small entrance fee £5/3

Visited October 2013
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Thank dlevings
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Edinburgh
Level Contributor
54 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Shambolic!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 16, 2013

As a local i have been meaning to visit this museum for some time. Disappointed the upstairs area was closed, they don't tell you this when you hand over the admission fee. Also the layout is chaotic. The area dedicated to dentistry could have been better, why not have a big dentists chair in the middle with exhibits around it?. This museum could and should be better.

Visited October 2013
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Thank StapeleyCraigie
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
117 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“A great collection pathology and medical history”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2013

Artefacts and videos bring to life various stages in the development of medicine and surgery, for example the advent of anaesthetics, the theories regarding post operative infections etc. The second area houses pathology specimens, surgical instruments and information and models of anatomy. There is a small section on Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I didn't realise was a medical doctor. There are interesting interactive exhibits, a microscope with various pathology slides and a simple simulatation of endoscopic surgery. The upper floor housed a lot of pathology specimens of various illnesses, some quite graphic. As a medic a lot of the information here reminded me of pathology and anatomy lessons at medical school, but my non-medic friend really enjoyed it too despite some slight horror at some of the more disturbing specimens. I would aim to spend 2-3 hours here if you want to do it in some detail. Would thoroughly recommend, the best museum in Edinburgh in my view.

Visited October 2013
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Thank TravelLondoner
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