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In 1799 the government purchased the collection of the surgeon and anatomist John Hunter (1728-1793). The collection is about 15,000 specimens and preparations making it of one of the greatest museums of comparative anatomy, pathology, osteology and natural history in the world.
Still today the museum hosts approximately 3,500 specimens and preparations from John Hunter's original collection, including many of Hunter's most famous specimens.
A major addition to the museum took place in 1909 when the College received on loan the collection of the Odontological Society of Great Britain. The College's Museum Collection also contains about 2,500 specimens acquired after 1799.
Other items that are part of this collection and on display in the museum are a set of four anatomical tables prepared for the diarist John Evelyn in Padua in 1646, as well as scientific and surgical instruments belonging to Joseph Lister, one of the pioneers of antiseptic surgery.
Also on show are wax anatomical models prepared by Joseph Towne in the nineteenth century and corrosion casts made by David Tompsett in the 1950s.
The Odontological Collection contains an extensive collection of skulls, jaws and teeth from humans and hundreds of species of animals. These show normal dental anatomy and a wide range of dental pathologies.
And finally the College has an extensive collection of about 7,000 historical surgical and dental instruments. These include instrument sets dating back to the 17th century, as well as a large number of instruments from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.