The launch of the new museum and laboratory spaces was the culmination of several years of work by Museums & Collections staff since the department took over the management of UCL Pathology Collections in 2009. Alongside these efforts to manage the space and collections more effectively, UCL Pathology Collections have also successfully applied for a Human Tissue Authority Display Licence. This Licence applies to the UCL Bloomsbury site presents exciting opportunities for a wider audience to engage with the collections. UCL Pathology Collections hope to make use of the Display Licence to maximum effect by including specimens in public exhibitions and museum displays and working with UCL staff to run public engagement and outreach events.

UCL Pathology Collections is an irreplaceable collection with important clinical teaching and research significance, consisting of some 6,000 specimens and objects. It comprises a series of sub-collections which originate from the incorporation of several London teaching and research hospitals, primarily the medical schools of UCL and the Royal Free Hospital, but also includes the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The core collection includes fluid-preserved human pathology specimens alongside skeletal material, foreign bodies, wax models, plaster casts and histopathology slides. With the exception of some historic specimens, most of the collections date back to the 20th Century.

The majority of the UCL Pathology Collections specimens are housed at the Royal Free Campus of the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences. A small part of the collections are stored in a variety of locations on the Bloomsbury and Whittington sites for teaching. The Royal Free Collections’ spaces include a museum display area along with specimens in visible storage as reference collections. There are also dedicated storage areas for the historic collections, along with workshops for the conservation and maintenance of the Collection.

The Collections are part UCL Museums, a dynamic and growing service that has won national awards. The museums are part of the UCL Public and Cultural Engagement (PACE) department that also includes the university’s Public Engagement Unit and the Bloomsbury Theatre.

Promoting research and teaching with these collections is a high priority, and UCL Museums play a key role in engaging new audiences with UCL’s academic work. We aim to cement the role of UCL Pathology Collections at UCL by working with colleagues across the university to include specimens from UCL Pathology Collections in these activities.

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