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  • Title
    Museum Catalogues
  • Reference
    RCS-MUS/7
  • Level of description
    sub-fonds
  • Date
    c1790-1998
  • Creator
  • Scope and Content
    This sub-fonds contains 389 volumes, 24 files and 5 boxes of published and unpublished catalogues and related information.
  • Extent
    406 volumes, 5 boxes, 24 files
  • Language
    English
  • System of arrangement
    The catalogues are arranged into 26 series primarily according to the type of specimen catalogued. They were arranged in this way in 1929, and numbered accordingly, and this arrangement has been followed here. This system does mean that some of the early catalogues that were originally created as a series (in several volumes, each covering different types of specimen) have since been split into different series.
  • Conditions governing access
    By appointment only. See College website for contact details of the Archives.
  • Admin./ biographical history
    After the contents of John Hunter’s Museum were donated to the The Company of Surgeons in 1799, it was continually added to it with specimens either purchased by or donated to the College. The increasing size of the collection, and the loss of specimens through deterioration, meant that the catalogues had to be updated many times. When the College was suffered bomb damage in 1941, about two-thirds of the museum specimens were destroyed. The old catalogues are now often the only source of information about the specimens that were lost in the bombing. In the 1970s the museum published its last printed catalogues. The current catalogue is maintained as a database, searchable on the Royal College of Surgeons website via Surgicat. Surgicat should be used to search for current specimens in the first instance. The series level descriptions give detailed histories of how each series was catalogued.