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About 98% of the museum collection is listed. However some records are not accessible via SurgiCat. This includes records of objects on loan to us from other organisations, or details of objects which have not yet been properly catalogued. In line with the Human Tissue Act 2004 SurgiCat does not provide details of our modern human anatomy and pathology preparations.
The level of information provided for each object record varies. Some sections, such as the Hunterian Collection, are catalogued in detail. For other parts of the collection only basic information is recorded. About 25% of the records have digital images, though we are adding more every week.
In general, object records contain the following information:
• Catalogue number (this is a useful reference if you want to request access to material or ask for further information)
• Subject terms (these include taxonomic names, medical subject headings and types of physical objects)
• A description (This is may vary from a few words to several paragraphs)
• Physical information about the object (e.g. what it is made of and its dimensions)
• Details of the maker (individuals/organisations responsible for making the object, with the dates and place of production if known)
• Details of associated people and places (individuals/organisations associated with the objects, e.g. designers, previous owners, doctors or surgeons associated with a particular case)
• The name of the person from whom it was acquired (individual/organisation who supplied the item to the RCS – this may not be the same as the original owner)
• A digital image (currently about 25% of the collection has been photographed, and this is steadily increasing)
• Bibliographic references (e.g. published catalogues or other works relating to the item, with notes and transcripts and/or links to longer texts)
Access to collections
Please note that not all of the material listed in the database is on show to the public. Some parts of the collection are in store, and other parts are in the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology which has restricted access. For details of admission to the museums and on access to stored material for study or research please visit the main museum web pages at
Copyright and reference
Images and text provided through the website remain the copyright of the Royal College of Surgeons of England unless otherwise stated, and are subject to the Terms and Conditions listed at
www.rcseng.ac.uk/footer/terms.html. Digital copies of images and text can be supplied to users on request for publication: please email
email@example.com for details (charges may apply).
Personal information relating to patients is not included in the database, except for certain parts of the historical collection which fall outside the terms of Human Tissue Act 2004, or where explicit consent for the disclosure of information has been given. Enquiries relating to individual donors living after 1 January 1904 should be made in the first instance through the responsible institution (e.g. hospital or NHS Local Health Authority).