Anatomical Museum launches 3D app

Treasures from Scotland’s medical past are on display to global audiences for the first time.

A new interactive app has been launched so that people worldwide can tour the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum.

Rare access

The free app opens up areas of the Museum and Old Medical School building that are not usually accessible to the public. These include a room containing more than 1500 skulls from around the world.

Users can select individual objects to learn more about their history, including the skeleton of infamous serial killer William Burke, who was hanged and publicly dissected in 1829 for his part in the notorious West Port murders.

Death masks

Other attractions include life and death masks of celebrated figures from history, including Oliver Cromwell, Sir Walter Scott and Napolean Bonaparte.

On view to the public for the first time are the University’s archive collections, which hold preserved specimens of human body parts that have been used to teach anatomy to medical students for centuries.

Virtual tour

The app also gives rare access to the Artists’ Flat, a room above the anatomy laboratories that was historically used to produce detailed drawings and paintings of dissected human body parts for use as teaching aids.

Visitors can also view the ornate lecture theatre, which has been used for teaching medical students for 132 years.

The tour gives 360 degree views of each of the spaces, with the ability to zoom in and view objects of interest in high definition detail.

It seemed to me to be a great shame to have such a wonderful collection of anatomical and other artefacts locked away from public viewing. We started opening the museum to the public so that people in and around Edinburgh would have the opportunity to view the exhibits. Now, with this app, anyone with an interest in our collection can access it from anywhere in the world and see it just as those visiting on an open day sees it.

Professor Gordon FindlaterAnatomical Museum, University of Edinburgh

Open days

Access to the Museum was the preserve of medical students and staff until 2012, when the doors opened to the public for one day a month. At other times, it is still used as a teaching and study space for medical students and there is no visitor access.

The Museum houses an impressive array of historical and anatomical specimens and models that are still used to teach medical students today.

Free download

The app has been developed by Edinburgh-based Luma 3D Interactive, a leading technology firm that specialises in 3D scanning and interactive tours as well as virtual and augmented reality. It is free to download and is functional on iOS and Android platforms. A Windows version is coming soon.

Related links

Download app - iTunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android)

Anatomical Museum

Anatomy at Edinburgh

Edinburgh Medical School