Pandemic: Spanish Influenza

In this time of the Coronavirus pandemic it is interesting to reflect on previous pandemics and in this blog our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, addresses the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. The usual yardstick for measuring the lethality of pandemics of infectious disease is the Black Death or bubonic plague. It was responsible…

Scurvy: Not Quite a Disease of the Past

Our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, explains how scurvy impacted the ill-fated Franklin Expedition and how it is still affecting people today.  One hundred and seventy-five years ago, in 1845, the Head of Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh, Harry Goodsir, resigned from his post to become naturalist on the ill-fated Franklin expedition to find…

Pathology Spotlight: Poliomyelitis

In March’s Pathology Spotlight our Human Remains Conservator discusses the cause behind the polio epidemics.  Poliomyelitis- more commonly known simply as polio- is an infection cased by poliovirus which is a member of the Enterorovirus C class of viruses (Figure 1). The disease has been present for much of human history, but major polio epidemics…

Put a Lid on it!

In this post, our Human Remains Conservator takes a look at some of the history behind our specimen jars. My husband likes to tell people that I am not very good with lids. Jam jars defeat me. I have to ask for help with childproof caps. Cosmetics frequently leak when I travel. The irony of…

Pathology Spotlight: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

In this Pathology Spotlight our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, explains aortic aneurysms.  The aorta is the large vessel that carries the blood at high pressure from the left side of the heart to the rest of the body. At the top of the specimen shown here is the arch of the aorta just…

A Model Education

In this latest blog, our Curator gives us an insight into what to expect from our upcoming temporary exhibition ‘A Model Education’ Our new exhibition, opening Saturday 4th April, will explore the teaching of anatomy throughout the centuries. By examining the collections of six historic anatomical institutions across the UK, including our own, we build…

Pathology Spotlight: Diabetes

In this latest Pathology Spotlight our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, explains the different types of diabetes and the complications that can arise from the condition.  This foot shows diabetic gangrene, a common complication of diabetes mellitus. The term diabetes mellitus actually refers to several conditions with different causes, all characterised by problems in metabolising…

Surgeons’ Hall Museums and the Franklin Expedition

Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson talks about the ill-fated Franklin Expedition and it’s connection to Surgeons’ Hall Museums. “In Baffin’s Bay where the whale fish blow The fate of Franklin no man may know The fate of Franklin no tongue can tell Lord Franklin along with this sailors do dwell!” -From traditional folk song…

Scottish Women’s Hospital – pioneers in science and surgery project with Canongate Youth community group.

Our Learning Officer, Carl Ronan, talks about the recent pioneers in science and surgery projectproject that Surgeons’ Hall Museums ran in collaboration with Canongate Youth.  The learning team here at Surgeons’ Hall Museums were successful in receiving a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for an inspiring heritage project based on the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH)…

John Goodsir and Charles Darwin’s Stomach Problems

In the latest blog Ken Donaldson, our Senior Research Fellow, talks about John Goodsir’s involvement with Charles Darwin and the potential cause of Darwin’s stomach problems. In the summer of 1863 the Professor of Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh, John Goodsir, was in failing health due to a long-term degenerative condition. Notwithstanding, he still wished…