The collections team at the Royal College of Surgeons welcomes opportunities for collaborative research based around its diverse collections. Material cared for by the museum holds a great interest for a wide variety of fields including history of medicine, dentistry, osteology, bioarchaeology, museology, evolutionary anthropology, climatology, veterinary science and wildlife conservation. Research may be based on collections, texts, objects or practices.
Curatorial and Research enquiries:
Following the closure of the College building from 2017-2020 for redevelopment, all Museums collections have now been placed into storage for the duration of this project.
During the closure we are committed to maintaining the maximum access possible to stored collections for research, however, as collections are now located across multiple sites with varying access to facilities, it may not be possible to access all requested objects and considerable notice will be required for all research requests.
We will continue to respond to requests for images throughout the closure period - providing that those requested are already held by the RCS as we are currently unable to offer a service for new photography of collections.
Online search facilities will continue to be available through our online catalogue 'Surgicat' which covers all museums and archives holdings: http://surgicat.rcseng.ac.uk/
Archives enquiries should be directed to: email@example.com
How to Arrange Research at the RCS Museum Collections
Online search facilities will continue to be available through our online catalogue 'Surgicat' which covers museum holdings, special collections and archives: http://surgicat.rcseng.ac.uk/
- We recommend that potential researchers use our online catalogue Surgicat to explore material before an initial approach.
- Read our Information for Museum Researchers document (PDF) for information on arranging research with collections, fees and what to expect during your visit.
- Read our Museums Research Policy.
- To book study time or enquire about research opportunities please contact the Museums Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For information on research using the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology collections, please email the Curator Carina Phillips at email@example.com
- Collections available for research
Past research projects using the RCS Museums' collections
London Atlas of Human Tooth Development and Eruption;
Dr. Sakher Al Qatahni and Dr. Helen Liversidge, Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), using the Maurice Stack collection to contribute to a comprehensive atlas with diagrams to estimate age using tooth development and alveolar eruption. The Atlas can be downloaded as an app.
Gorilla Pathology Study Group;
Professor John E Cooper, Consultant Veterinary Pathologist, examining gorilla material as part of a collaborative study of skeletal and dental pathology in order to understand and promote better the health and welfare of gorillas in the wild.
Leopard seal research;
Associate Professor Tracey Rogers, University of New South Wales, investigating how climate change has impacted Antarctic food webs by looking at diets of seals.
Dental stigmata of congenital syphilis:
Professor Simon Hillson, University College London (UCL), studying the characteristic dental enamel defects of individuals with congenital syphilis.
3D scanning of cranial morphology among African apes;
Jason Massey, University of Minnesota, examining the degree and pattern of extant primate sexual dimorphism in order to apply methods to the human fossil record.
Historic Cheetah Phylogeography Project;
Léna Godsall Bottriell and Paul Bottriell, The Rex Foundation, investigating (with University Veterinary Medicine Vienna) cheetah's evolutionary development in relation to geography, analysing mitochrondrial, nuclear DNA and microsatellites in tissue samples from cheetah's recent former African and Asian range to determine divergence times and distinctions between the geographic races described over time.
Legacies of the repatriation of human remains;
Sarah Morton, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), focusing on the repatriation of human remains from the Hunterian Museum collections to indigenous groups in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.
Hunterian Bicentenary Fellowship;
Dr Wendy Birch, University College London (UCL), exploring musculoskeletal differences between primates preserved in the Osman-Hill collection. The project seeks to provide a detailed anatomy resource across the main groups of primates and to demonstrate the relevance of museum specimens to modern anatomical teaching.