Collections & Research


Caring for over 47,000 items of historical medical equipment

Collections and Research


The Thackray Medical Museum preserves and cares for over 47,000 items of historical medical equipment – those on display are just the tip of the iceberg!

However, our collection of internationally important artefacts is not hidden away in dusty drawers never to see the light of day – people from all over the world come to study and handle items from our collection; bizarre, beautiful, or unique, they are an invaluable resource for academics, scholars, and members of the public who wish to carry out research, study for exams, or simply explore their particular area of interest.

Here are just a few highlights from our vast collection:

  • Prince Albert’s personal medicine chest used to treat minor ailments, complete with the original labelled medicine bottles.

  • Hitler’s blood transfusion set, kept aboard his official yacht, the Grille, in case of emergency.

  • A correction frame, made in 1700 and illustrated in the inventor’s book, Opera Chirurgica. A 1723 edition of the book is held by the Thackray Medical Museum.

Although our collection is wide-ranging, its particular strengths are:

  • European surgical instruments from the 1600s to the present, and makers’ patterns from the late 1800s.

  • Hospital and dental equipment, including an important collection of British anaesthetic equipment.

  • Mainly British first-aid equipment and household medicine.

  • British patent medicines and quack cures.

  • Medically themed medals, tokens and coins.

  • A nationally significant collection of hearing aids and audiology equipment, including the British Society of Audiology collection.

  • The J F Wilkinson Pharmaceutical Ceramics Collection

Click on the links to the right to find out more about the J F Wilkinson Pharmaceutical Ceramics Collection or how the Thackray became the backdrop to the Medicine at the Movies film project.