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Explore the collection

There are 10 broad themes represented in the collection at the Museum of Medicine and Health.

Explore each theme below and view an image gallery of selected objects.

You can also view our latest events for an opportunity to see a selection of objects in person.

Oncology and radiology

Our collection includes X-ray tubes, film cases, a few X-rays and a large collection of historic radiotherapy equipment from The Christie Hospital.

Obstetrics and gynaecology

We have a large collection of specialist gynaecology instruments, speculums, pelvimeters, curettes, breast pumps and nipple shields, plus a reference collection of obstetric forceps illustrating the technical improvements from the 18th century.

Orthopaedic surgery

We have a large collection of instruments for treating fractures, hip replacement, bone instruments, tourniquets and amputation sets.  We also have some personal items belonging to John Charnley (1911-82), who pioneered the hip replacement operation.  

In addition to this we have an interesting collection of 19th and 20th century prosthetic limbs. There is also a good collection of early wooden splints, some from the First World War.

Imaging and diagnostics

Our collection covers urology (box sets of catheters and 19th and 20th century cystoscopes), all types of endoscopes and a good collection of 19th century monaural stethoscopes.


Our collection includes pill rollers, a powder folder, pharmacy bottles and jars, pill boxes, dispensing balances, prescription ledgers, bottle labels, scales, various bench equipment.

The hospital: nursing, equipment, management and organisation

Our collection includes historical, photographic and biographical information on Dr Catherine Chisholm, the first female medicine graduate from The University of Manchester, who established the Duchess of York Babies Hospital in Manchester. We also have a collection of paediatric surgical instruments.

History of surgery

Our extensive collection includes surgical instruments, ear nose and throat instruments, neurosurgery instruments, surgical sutures, anaesthetic equipment, cardiology equipment and haematology equipment.

It also includes:

  •  A donation from Dr Nasim Naqvi, a retired Bolton anaesthetist and medical antique collector of over 300 eclectic items including endoscopes, anaesthetic equipment, surgical instruments and catalogues.
  • Instruments made by J&W Wood (a Manchester surgical instrument company, 1833 to 1933). Their instruments were of the highest quality and we have a good collection of their work.


Triumphs of medicine

These are Professor George Mitchell’s objects from the original Manchester Medical School, which make the foundation of the collection. They include two Lister sprays, the Cruise endoscope, a Second World War reservoir penicillin syringe, penicillin slides, mort safe prints, plus various instruments and apparatus.

Self-treatment and corrective apparatus

Our collection includes various massage and self-treatment devices, such as UV and infra-red lamps, plus hearing aids, ophthalmology equipment, and various spectacles and frames.

The latter were donated from the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, and our own optometry department.

Medical education and research

Our extensive collection includes doctors’ property, laboratory equipment, Manchester Medical School items, microscopes, physiology equipment, teaching skeletons, Delftware apothecary drug jars (the oldest items in the museum), medical medals, medical silver instruments, books, pictures, Edwardian teaching glass lantern slides, 19th and 20th century glass medicine measures, syringes, needles, aspiration sets and pumps.