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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, Archive and Library collections have now been placed into storage for the duration of this project.

Due to our ongoing work associated with the collections moves, until Autumn 2017 it will not be possible to respond to collections and research enquiries or image requests.

After this point our curatorial team will respond to enquiries and also provide images, providing that those requested are already held by the RCS - we are currently unable to offer a service to provide new photography of collections.

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.
It unlikely that we will be able to provide research access to stored collections until early 2018.

Online search facilities will continue to be available through our online catalogue 'Surgicat' which covers museum holdings, special collections and archives:

Archival enquiries should be directed to:

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:

Recent Research Projects using the RCS Museum 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.

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