Anatomical Museum

The Collection

The collection of the Anatomical Museum consists of approximately 12,000 objects, which illustrate the story of 300 years of teaching Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh.

About one third of the museum’s collection is related to pathology, anatomy and comparative anatomy (zoology). This includes anatomical models, skeletal remains, dried preparations and specimens preserved in spirit. The rest of the collection includes phrenological, pharmacological and forensic material as well as anatomical illustrations and other artworks.

The Anatomical Collection is part of a group of historic collections cared for by  the University of Edinburgh (the others being Fine Art, Musical Instruments, Natural History and Geology). In 2016 these collections were awarded ‘Accredited’ status by Museums Galleries Scotland.

Our Anatomical Collection is currently undergoing a detailed inventory. Wherever possible, this examination of the collection will record the history of each object and its link to the Anatomical Museum and the anatomists, donors and founders that formed the collection. This ongoing work will help to provide information for future exhibitions and researchers. 

Anatomy teaching

Objects from the collection which have been used for teaching Anatomy and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.


The museum contains the skeletons and other remains from some famous and infamous people from Scottish history including the serial killer William Burke, ‘Bowed’ Joseph and John Howison, the ‘Cramond Murderer’.


Busts and masks from the Edinburgh Phrenological Society