Hunterian Museum – London, England - Atlas Obscura

AO Edited

Hunterian Museum

Royal College of Surgeons of England

The anatomical-pathological collection of a man who changed surgery. 


The Hunterian Museum has an amazing anatomy and pathology collection amassed by John Hunter; an anatomist, obstetrician, doctor, naturalist, and dedicated collector of oddities who lived from 1728 to 1793. Hunter had a reputation as a bit of a mad scientist, and the idiosyncratic collection reflects this.

The museum houses one of the oldest collections of anatomical, pathological, and zoological specimens in the United Kingdom. The collection comprises more than 3,500 anatomical and pathological preparations, fossils, paintings, and drawings.

One half of the brain of the famous mathematician Charles Babbage is on display (the other half is with his Difference Engine at the London Science Museum).

Also in the collection are the Evelyn Tables, acquired from Italy in 1646 by John Evelyn, a prolific diarist best known for his detailed journals written during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The tables are wooden slabs of “mounted dry tissue” displaying veins and arteries from dissections and are the earliest known anatomical preparations in Europe.

The surgical instruments carried by doomed Scottish explorer Mungo Park are also in the collection. John’s older brother, also a noted physician, anatomist, and collector bequeathed his belongings to the University of Glasgow, Scotland, forming the basis for the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow

Know Before You Go

The nearest Underground station is Holborn. It's inside the Royal College of Surgeons building. It's on the opposite side of the park from the also great Sir John Soanes Museum. Large bags are not allowed within the museum, free lockers are provided to store oversized satchels.

The museum is free to enter. It is suggested to gain access by booking a ticket from the website to avoid disappointment. Open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web