Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2017

#Heritage Week 2017: The RCSI Museum - a treasure trove of Natural History Collections

With the theme for this year's Heritage Week being 'It's in your Nature', this is the perfect time to delve into the history of the RCSI Museum, which held an impressive collection of zoological specimens. Much of the information in this post comes from Sir Charles A Cameron’s great work 'History of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, The Irish Medical Schools etc' which in 2016 RCSI Heritage Collections made available to read and search on-line . It is an immensely readable tome and contains fascinating insights into the history of the college. We’ll also utilise other sources including J.D.H. Widdess' history of RCSI as well as the annual reports of the College. The museum began life late in the 18th century on Mercer Street; early contributions were made to it by Mr. John Halahan and Mr. William Dease . The first museum catalogue was prepared in 1795 by the professors of Anatomy. By 1819 the museum was somewhat neglected, Cameron tells us that ‘abou

Heritage Week in RCSI - Showcasing our Natural History Specimen Collection!

We are busily preparing for next week's Heritage Week so we thought you'd like to know what's in store! This years theme of 'It's in our Nature' fits in perfectly with one of our prized Heritage Collections, the RCSI Natural History Specimen Collection ! It comprises approximately 200 specimens across the disciplines of  zoology and biology and range in items such as frogs in glass jars preserved in formaldehyde, a duckbilled platypus 'prepared' by a past museum curator, a tiger skull donated by a prominent doctor and various incy wincy spiders picked up from all around the world. Why, do you ask, does a College of Surgeons hold such type of items?  It all started at the early stages of RCSI's history when in 1775, William Dease, one of the founding members of RCSI, presented a collection of anatomical preparations to RCSI. Using these preparations, the College decided to fit up a museum in RCSI's first building on Mercer Street. It had its ve