Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's Surgeons' Hall Museums reopens after £4m revamp

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Media captionTake a peek inside the revamped Surgeons' Hall Museums.

One of the UK's oldest museums has reopened to the public following a £4m transformation.

Edinburgh's Surgeons' Hall Museums, which houses collections of anatomical specimens and artefacts, has been shut to visitors for 18 months.

The refurbishment - the first time the building has been radically altered since 1908 - has allowed bosses to double the number of items on show.

The museums are part of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The reopening sees the return of popular exhibits such as a pocket book made from the skin of the infamous murderer William Burke, and exhibits linked to Dr Joseph Bell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's teacher and main inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

New exhibits include a reproduction of a 17th Century dissection theatre where, using digital technology, visitors can experience a dissection of a human body just as medical students did 300 years ago.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Ian Ritchie, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said: "Surgeons' Hall Museums and its collections are a very important part of the heritage of the college and an equally important part of its future.

"We feel keenly our responsibility to educate and inform the public as part of our commitment to patient care and professional standards.

"Through Surgeons' Hall Museums, the college can reach visitors from across the globe and inspire the next generation of surgeons."

Originally developed as a single teaching museum for students of medicine, Surgeons' Hall Museums' pathology collection has been open to the public since 1832, making the Wohl Pathology Museum which houses it Scotland's oldest museum.

The original museum is now part of a group of museums and collections, including The History of Surgery Museum and The Dental Collection, which chart the transition of medicine from perceived witchcraft through to a recognised science.

The new Surgeons' Hall Museums also contains an education suite and a full-scale Vitruvian man made from medical prosthetics.

It will be officially unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh on Monday.

The work was supported by a £2.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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