The Hunterian Museum is to reopen in May 2023 after a nearly six-year redevelopment of the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in central London.
The museum closed in May 2017 for renovation work, and will reopen its doors on Tuesday 16th May 2023, offering the first chance to see the £4.6m development.
Across 10 rooms, the displays will feature over 2,000 anatomical preparations from the original collection of 18th century surgeon and anatomist, John Hunter.
Next month marks the 210th anniversary of the Museum opening at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
The journey through the museum will feature instruments, equipment, models, paintings and archive material, which trace the history of surgery from ancient times to modern robot-assisted operations.
It has also announced Hunterian Provocations, set to begin in Autumn. It said the programme of research, workshops, exhibitions and events will cover themes of decolonisation, repatriation, the environment and sustainability, the ethics of display, the representation of lived experience and inclusion and diversity in the history of surgery.
The programme was first announced in January, as the museum responded to campaigners, which called for the skeleton of Charles Byrne to be removed from its display.
Byrne, who had gigantism as was known as “The Irish Giant”, did not want to have his remains displayed, argued the campaigners.
The museum’s board has since agreed that the skeleton will not be part of its display, and will remain in its collection for the purpose of research.
Dawn Kemp, Director of Museums and Special Collections at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “The Hunterian Museum has been a place where history has been made, both for good and bad.
“Its history makes it a unique place to contemplate what it is to be human. A place to reflect and consider our shared and finite natural world and our responsibility to care for the well-being of our fellow humans and all living things. A place to exchange ideas and views and to review our shared histories through the widest possible lens.”
Image: Royal College of Surgeons of England, home to the Hunterian Museum (Photo: eh Jon K, Flickr:CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)