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Donate to our collections

We are always looking to develop our collections. We welcome all types of donations relating to the history of medicine and medical education, including archives, instruments, photographs, artworks, medical teaching aids and other objects. 

How it works

If you are interested in donating something to RCPI, please email heritagecentre@rcpi.ie, and we will be happy to discuss any potential donations in confidence. Please include as much information about the items as you can;

  • a description and, if possible, a photograph of the item(s)

  • details of where it came from, and any personal stories connected with the item(s)

  • approximate size

All potential donations will be assessed against our collections development policy, and if we are able to accept the donation, we will be in contact to arrange transfer. Once transferred, the item(s) will form a part of the permanent collection of our accredited museum.

What sort of material do we collect?

We collection material in any format relating to the history of medicine and medical education in Ireland, some examples would be;

  • archive material relating to the medical profession and medical education in Ireland

  • archives of hospitals, medical professional or public health organisations

  • papers of Irish medics or medical historians

  • medical instruments and devices and materia medica specimens, especially those relating to the practice of medicine in Ireland or with a strong Irish connection

  • objects belonging to Irish doctors, medical institutions or organisations

  • portraits (in any medium) of Irish medical professions, or artworks showing medical professionals at work

  • printed material relating to medicine, medical education and the history of medicine in Ireland not already held in Dun’s Library

 

You can view our full Collection Development Policy here.

Recent donations 

The strength and diversity of our collections is due to the generous donations made to RCPI throughout our history, and we are very grateful to all those who have made donations to our collections. Below are details of just come of our recent received donations. 

Read's Medical Instrument Collection

A unique collection of antique medical instruments from Read's Cutlers and Instrument Makers, formally of Parliament Street Dublin, have been places on loan to the Heritage Centre. This collections represents an important part of Ireland’s medical heritage, as well as the legacy of Dublin's oldest shop.

Find out more about the collection here.

This collection was loaned by Mr Clem Kenny

Dr Robert Shaw Wayland Papers

A small collection of documents relating to Dr Robert Shaw Wayland (1852-1928).  Dr Wayland worked at the Children's Hospital in Dublin for much of his career, as physicians and anaesthetist. This small collection contains a fee and account book dating from the 1910s, a photograph of Dr Wayland and testimonials.

This material was donated by Dr Robert Shaw Wayland's Mrs O P W Martin.

Uniform of Brigade Surgeon Kerans

 

William Robert Kerans was born in the Dispensary House in Ahascragh, Co. Galway, on 10th January 1836. He followed his father in the medical profession, training as a surgeon in Dublin. In December 1858 he joined the British Army medical service, attached to the 99th and later the 85th Regiment of Foot. Kerans’ military career took him all over the world, he served in India, China and Egypt. In 1874 he was promoted to Surgeon Major. In 1884 Kerans retired from the Army, and brought his family back to his native Ireland. They lived first at Templemore, County Tipperary, and while there Kerans joined the volunteer Royal Limerick County Militia. This mess uniform is from this Militia Regiment and dates from the period.  We are delighted to be able to add the uniform to Kerans' surgical instrument case which is on loan to the Heritage Centre
 
The mess uniform was donated by Dr and Mrs John Watson on behalf of their son James Watson. 

Public Health Ephemera

A series of donations of Public Health related ephemera donated over the past few years, the most recent donation includes a poster for a 1926 Dublin City Public Health Week, a flyer relating to the controversial 1950s Mother and Child Scheme, and a letter from Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1905-1915).

Previous donations include a series of seven Public Health Cartoons by the artist Thomas Fitzpatrick, dating from the 1910s. You can read more about these cartoons on the Heritage Centre blog.

This material was donated in memory of Dr Matthew J Russell and Dr Angela Russell née Coyne. Dr Matthew Russell was Medical Officer for health in Dublin, and the material donated was collected by him.

Additional Saint Ultan's Hospital Papers

Two welcome addition to our extensive archive relating to Saint Ultan's Hospital, founded by Dr Kathleen Lynn. The donations include early annual reports of the hospital and scrape book containing newspaper cuttings, flyers and other ephemera from the early years of the hospital, as well as a hospital nurses badge and cup and saucer.  The material will be added to our existing holdings relating to the hospital

These donations were received from Sé Merry Doyle (Loopline films) and Dr Pauline O'Connell.

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.