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Adopt a Treasure

Help us care for our collections

We hold a large and valuable collection of rare historical books, manuscripts, antique medical instruments and works of art relating to the history of the College and medicine in Ireland. The preservation and restoration of these delicate items is an ongoing challenge.

We invite you to Adopt a Treasure and sponsor the restoration of some of the most fragile and unique items in our collections. With your help we can preserve the history of medicine in Ireland for future generations.

How it Works

Items can be adopted by individuals or groups, and can also be adopted on behalf of someone as a gift or to mark a special occasion.

There are two ways to adopt a treasure:

  • you can select a specific item for adoption from the list below
  • or you can simply make a donation to the Adopt a Treasure programme and we will use it to restore items most in need.

As soon as an item has been selected for adoption it will be sent to a team of experts for specialist conservation treatment.

Adopt A Treasure Now

Download Our Adopt A Treasure form

This form can be completed and returned to the Heritage Centre by email or post.

What Do You Get for Your Donation?

What you receive Gold donor
Silver donor
Bronze donor
Certificate of adoption Yes Yes Yes
Name on online register (optional) Yes Yes Yes
Acknowledgement in item label and catalogue Yes Yes
Private tour of Heritage Centre Yes Yes
Invitation to Heritage Centre annual social event Yes

Treasures Waiting to be Adopted

Sketch of Neurologist George Sigerson on his deathbed

George Sigerson (1836-1925) graduated in medicine from Queen’s College, before studying in Paris in the same class as Sigmund Freud. On returning to Ireland he specialised in neurology, treating, among others, Maude Gonne and Nora Barnacle. Sigerson was actively involved in political journalism and the Irish literary revival. He was nominated as a member of the first Irish Senate of the Free State.

This pencil sketch of Sigerson was drawn by the artist Estella Solomons (1882-1968) on 18 February 1925, the day of Sigerson’s death. Estella moved in the same literary and political circles as Sigerson.

Contact us to adopt this treasure for €250.

Nineteenth century Dermatology illustrations

These intricate nineteenth century illustrations form part of a collection made later in the 19th century by Wallace Beatty, and used by him as teaching aids. The works are mainly by the artist William Bourke Kirwan and J Connolly, who specialised in this area. Most of the illustrations depict specific skin diseases, although there are also some surgical and obstetrical illustrations.

You can adopt this treasure for €400 per illustration

Pathologiae Cerebri (1667) by the ‘father of neuroscience’ Thomas Willis

Thomas Willis (1621-1675) was a revolutionary physician and neuroanatomist, considered by many as the father of neuroscience. His 1664 text Cerebri Anatome on the brain and nerves was to be deeply influential for the next two centuries. His 1667 text Pathologiae Cerebri concerns the pathology of the brain, and in it Willis developed a new theory of the cause of asthma, epilepsy and other convulsive diseases. His work also contributed to the development of psychiatry.

Contact us to adopt this treasure for €250

Kahn's Atlas of the formation of the human body (1852)

In 1851 Joseph Kahn, describing himself as a ‘medical doctor’ arrived in London and established Dr Kahn's Anatomical and Pathological Museum. This was at the height of popular interest in anatomy, and Kahn's museum was intended to show the ‘wondrous’ structure of the body and to warn of the harmful consequences to health of abuses that ‘distort or defile’ its ‘beautiful structure’. Its subsequent decline into a front for the sale of quack remedies for venereal disease damaged the reputation of anatomy museums. In 1852 Kahn published this atlas of embryology based on the work of his former teacher.

Contact us to adopt this treasure for €150

Felix Vicq D’Azye - Traité d'Anatomie et de Physiologie (1786)

Born into a medical family D’Azye (1746-1794) taught anatomy in Paris, where he developed several new techniques to improve practice and to gain a greater understanding of the brain. He was the last physician to Maire-Antoinette, whom he tried to protect. He published his Traité d'Anatomie, which includes many beautiful illustrations, in 1786.

Contact us to adopt this treasure for €400

Can't Find a Treasure to Adopt?

Contact us and we will match you to your perfect treasure to adopt, or you can make a donation to the Adopt A Treasure programme and we will use it to restore items most in need.

Harriet Wheelock

Keeper of Collections

Tel: +353 1 669 8817

Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.

Thank you to our supporters!

We are very grateful to everyone who has supported our Adopt A Treasure campaign so far. Below are just some of the treasures that have been adopted.

Dun's Hospital memorial commemorating World War I dead

This memorial was created by Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital to honour the memories of former medical students and staff of the hospital who lost their lives during the First World War.

The memorial contains photographs and regimental details of 29 individuals, including some who had left the hospital before completing their education to join the armed forces.

This item was adopted by Mr Gabriel McGovern

Portrait of Robert Collis

Robert Collis (1900-1975) was a leading paediatrician, specialising in treating cerebral palsy he founded the National Cerebral Palsy Clinic. His work in this field brought him into contact with the young Christy Brown. In 1957 Collis moved to Nigeria where he was director of paediatrics at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. He also lectured in paediatrics in Lagos and Zaria. Collis returned to Ireland in 1970, where he became consultant to the National Association of Cerebral Palsy

This item was adopted by Irene and Josu de la Fuente, FRCPI

Portrait of Alexander Jackson

Alexander Jackson was born in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone in 1767/8. He moved to Dublin in 1795 to begin working at the House of Industry Hospital. In 1798 he received his Licentiate of the King and Queen’s College of Physicians of Ireland, and later received his Honorary Fellowship in 1824. Jackson was responsible for planning the Richmond Lunatic, which became Ireland’s first lunatic asylum when it opened in 1815, with Jackson as its first Medial Officer. He also served as State Physician between 1808 and 1831. Jackson died unmarried in 1848 leaving  £8,000 for almshouses in his native Aughnacloy.

This item was adopted by Dr Miss Hima

Portrait of Thomas Gilman Moorhead by Leo Whelan

Moorhead studied medicine in Trinity College, graduating in 1901 and taking his MD the following year. He became a Member of RCPI in 1905 and was elected Fellow the following year.  Moorhead worked and taught at the Royal City of Dublin Hospital and Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital. In 1914 the Hospital opened a ward for war casualties and this opportunity for war service satisfied Moorhead until the summer of 1915 when the scale of disease and suffering at Gallipoli became clear. He joined the RAMC and reached Alexandria in time for the final evacuation of troops from the peninsula. Moorhead returned to practice after the war. In 1926, he was alighting from a train at Euston Station when he slipped and fell. When his head hit the platform a bilateral retinal detachment occurred, and Moorhead permanently lost his sight. Undaunted, he continued to practice medicine, with a colleague to describe the clinical signs and devoted more time to teaching. He also researched into the history of medicine and published a history of Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital. As well as serving as President of RCPI, Moorhead was also President of the British Medical Association and the Irish Medical Association.

This item was adopted by Dr Anne Maloney, FRCPI

Dublin Pathological Society Proceedings


The Pathological Society of Dublin was the first pathological society to be established in the British Isle and, uniquely, it brought together surgeons, physicians and obstetricians, however, pathology itself would not be recognised as a medical speciality until the 1920s. The founding members of the society included some of the most eminent medical men of the time including Graves, Stokes, Henry Marsh, Abraham Colles, Philip Crampton, James McCartney and Dominic Corrigan. The society held its meetings at four o’clock every Saturday, rotating between the various medical schools, with pathological specimens, casts and drawings being exhibited. It was necessary to meet on a weekly basis, as specimens were to be ‘exhibited in their recent state’.  The society published their proceedings to open them up to a wider audience

This item was adopted by Dr Hilary Humphreys, FRCPI