The Hunterian Museum
The Hunterian Museum London Reviews
Excellent anatomical exhibit, except for the squeamish! May 13, 2015
It may be in the Royal College of Surgeons, but you certainly don’t need to have a working knowledge of human and animal biology to find this exhibit – which originally dates from the 18th century – of interest. Undoubtedly, it’s a great way to get a slightly chilling, free-of-charge cultural fix in the otherwise unremarkable central London area of Holborn.
The gruesome collection within once belonged to John Hunter, an 18th century surgeon who specialised in dissections of the dead, be they humans, animals or plants. An eminent practitioner in a profession which, in his day, was often viewed as the preserve of charlatans and butchers, the museum does a great job of outlining how Hunter played an important, transformative role in the development of medical surgery, enabling it to become what it is today.
All well and good, but what we all really come to see is the rows and rows of various body parts and, indeed, bodies themselves preserved in glass jars for our morbid curiosity. Usually diseased or injured in some way – they are dissected for medical reasons after all – these range from bones and organs, to animals whose bodies have been spliced open to reveal the innards within, through to (and this may be too much for some people) human foetuses at various stages of development. So absolutely not for the squeamish then, but an endlessly fascinating anatomical study for the rest of us.
These jars are the centrepiece and aptly housed within long glass cabinets in the centre of the museum, giving things something of a mad scientist air. But there are other things worthy of attention too, such as the 7ft 7ins skeleton of Charles O’Brien, the ‘Irish Giant’, and the corner upstairs that explains surgical procedure today. Throw in some interesting titbits on the life of Hunter himself, plus the story of the museum after his death (it was bombed during World War II, thus almost becoming lost forever), and you have a thoroughly absorbing and informative museum in which to spend an hour or two.
N.B. – Photography is prohibited within the museum, hence the absence of photos of the exhibits themselves in this review.
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The Weird & Wonderful Hunterian museum Jun 04, 2011
The Hunterian Museum is based on the life's work of John Hunter.
His work involved collecting medical specimens. There are 3500 Specimens that remain of his collection on display at the museum which include everything from Bumble Bee's to Crocodiles and even Some Human Subjects.
Many of the exhibits are very old and some were collected by Joseph Banks during Captain Cook's voyage to Australia.
Mostly the specimens are preserved in glass jars, and in the main part, are in extremely good condition.
There are some very Weird and wonderful things on display here and some might not be for the more squeamish.
For example if you feel that you have the stomach for it there are many samples from people with various injuries or diseases that were collected to help progress/educate the studying surgeons.
upstairs they have a section on modern surgery which Is as fascinating as it is impressive.
I cant say enough good things about this museum. The shear wealth of specimens and information mean that you should really give it at least a whole day!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy