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The Hunterian


University of Glasgow,


G12 8QQ

Phone number:

0141 330 4221

Social Media:

Opening hours:

Hunterian Museum: Tuesday - Sunday: 10am-5pm

Anatomy Museum by appointment only.


Email for all enquiries on research or special access to museum collections.

Email for visits to the Anatomy Museum

For the University Library where William Hunter’s books and manuscripts are kept, research enquiries should be submitted here:

The Hunterian was opened in 1807 and is Scotland’s oldest public museum. It was established around the collections of Dr William Hunter, the celebrated 18th century anatomist, doctor and obstetrician. As a physician and collector, he was unique amongst his contemporaries in several ways, not least in having had the foresight to bequeath his entire museum collections and library to his alma mater, the University of Glasgow, thereby avoiding their dispersal in the salerooms. Hunter also bequeathed £8000 for the construction of a suitable building to exhibit the collections. 

Hunter’s collections were wide-ranging, containing coins, art works, ethnographical items, anatomical and natural history specimens, printed books and manuscripts. The core of the collections are the anatomical preparations made by Hunter and his pupils. This material differs from all other parts of his collection in that it was made and used by Hunter for teaching and research work throughout his long, successful medical career. The anatomical material comprises wet preparations of human and animal tissues and organs, skeletal material, air-dried preparations, models and some animal taxidermy specimens.

Hunter’s material was considerably supplemented throughout the 19th century and 20th centuries with new specimens being added by University teaching and research staff. During this time Professors James Jeffray, Allen Thomson, John Cleland and Thomas Bryce all added material including wet and dry human tissues and organ, comparative animal anatomy specimens, fine 19th century wax, plaster and papier-mâché models, and skulls from Glasgow cemeteries and around the world. The Hunter anatomical collections were moved from the main Hunterian Museum, to the Department of Anatomy in 1901 and were further sub-divided in 1954 when the pathology (morbid anatomy) specimens were re-located to the University Department of Pathology at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the centre of the city. However, in 2012, the pathology collections were reunited with the anatomy material on campus in a new store in the Thomson Building, home of the Department of Anatomy.

The Hunterian collections also include medical equipment and instruments. Highlights here include Hunter’s own instruments, Joseph Lister’s equipment and the teaching collections of the former Glasgow College of Nursing. To learn more about the current displays in the Hunterian Museum see here:

To learn more about the Anatomy Museum, housed in the Thomson Building on the main campus, see the website

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