Events uncover city’s hidden histories

A series of public events will journey through the University’s archives and collections, unearthing 500 years of Edinburgh’s history.

During the two-day programme, visitors can take in some of the University’s historic buildings, as they learn more about the city.

They hear true stories about skeletons in the collection and view rare medieval illustrations of the capital.

Workshops will also include activities such as printmaking and photography.

The events are the University's contribution to Scotland-wide Festival of Museums.

Festival of Museums at the University of Edinburgh

Lively event  

One festival event will pay homage to St Cecilia’s Hall, the oldest purpose-built concert venue in Scotland.

The historic University building – situated in the Cowgate – has had many uses in the past, and was once home to the Bridges Pub, a favourite spot for locals.

Guests will taste a range of beers from Alchemy Brewery, with tasting tips from the brewer, while a band will play a series of songs, traditionally sung in pubs, in the newly refurbished concert hall.

Shadowy tales

Visitors can also enjoy free tours of the University’s Anatomical Museum.

The fascinating exhibits are rarely open to the public. They feature notorious killer William Burke’s death mask and skeleton, a whale’s backbone and skulls from a polar bear and a walrus.

Author Janet Philip will be giving a talk on her new book Burke: Now and Then.

The book investigates the motivations behind Burke and his partner William Hare’s serial murders in 1828. It reveals a number of previously unknown facts about the Edinburgh duo.

New perspectives

One event provides a history of Edinburgh through illustrations. It focuses on the University’s collection from the medieval to modern times.

The event also offers the chance to gain new perspectives on the city though first-hand accounts and official documents.

Another attraction is a free seminar on the topic of time. The event will explore how early geologists worked, and how Edinburgh’s Professor Arthur Holmes became known as “the father of the geological timescale”.

Hands-on workshops 

Elsewhere a tour of Edinburgh with a professional photographer will offer tips on how best to capture the dramatic city at night.

At another event, University conservators will present a range of items from the University’s collection and teach people how to identify them.

Participants can also discover the best way to preserve prints and create their own linocut to take home.

Related links

Programme and booking information

Festival of Museums

Centre for Research Collections