Closed for the past six years, one of London’s more interesting museums will reopen in May as a free to visit medical museum.
The Hunterian Museum, based at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in central London includes the display of over 2,000 anatomical preparations made by the 18th century surgeon anatomist John Hunter, from whom the museum takes its name.
The specimens will be displayed alongside instruments, equipment, models, paintings and archive material, which trace the history of surgery from ancient times to the latest robot-assisted operations.
The Hunterian Museum has been a place where history has been made, both for good and bad. It’s where dinosaurs were first named; where Charles Darwin came for advice on the fossils he found half the world away; where the pioneer of computing, Charles Babbage sent his brain to be put on display. It is also where some of those closely involved in the Western ‘colonial project’ developed their repugnant ideas on racial theory and white supremacism.
The museum redesign has cost £4.6 million, and was part of a larger redevelopment of the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The new museum space, which is now on the ground floor is made up of ten large rooms and a long gallery, so there’s going to be a lot to see.
The museum had been expected to reopen in late 2021, but the redevelopment of the building and reinstallation of the museum was unsurprisingly delayed by the pandemic, and there’s been a small additional delay that held up a March opening. They’ve now confirmed that it will now open on Tuesday 16th May 2023 – and will then be open every Tues to Sat between 10am and 5pm, closed on Sun and Mon. There’s no need to book, just turn up and go in.
Dawn Kemp, Director of Museums and Special Collections at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “This May marks the 210th anniversary of the Hunterian Museum opening at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It is tremendously exciting to be able to welcome the public back after a six-year closure.”
As part of the reopening of the museum, they also have a new website, which is here.