RCP Unseen

Portrait of Richard Quain

RCP Unseen

The history of medicine as you've never seen it before...

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has been collecting objects, works of art, recorded interviews, rare books and documents for over 500 years.

Our vast collections work hard behind the scenes, informing current research projects, enriching RCP ceremonies and reaching international audiences through events and exhibitions. Fragile objects are conserved to ensure the safekeeping of the RCP's unique legacy.

In Unseen, we are delighted to display some of our unseen riches for the very first time. Delve into our collections to discover never-seen-before curiosities, and explore previously hidden stories from the history of medicine and beyond...

In this exhibition, colleagues from the RCP's library, archive and museum have selected rare and fascinating items from our collections to explore – many for the first time.

Join us as we discover how our historical objects are being used by scientists and researchers today to learn more about disease and medical practice. Learn how a 500-year-old collection continues to grow today, and discover some of the surprising items that you would never expect a physician to own!

‘RCP Unseen’ online

Exhibition events

Join us for a series of digital talks, discussions and workshops to accompany our new exhibition, RCP Unseen.

Online events:

  • Wednesday 20 January, 6pm, RCP Unseen: digital exhibition launch - past event catch up on YouTube
  • Thursday 18 March, 6pm, ‘Endell Street: The Women who ran Britain’s Trailblazing Military Hospital’, a talk by Wendy Moore - past event catch up on YouTube
  • Wednesday 28 April, 12pm, RCP Unseen: lunchtime curator talk (past event)
  • Wednesday 30 June, 12pm, RCP Unseen: lunchtime curator talk (past event)
  • Thursday 15 July, 6pm, Smallpox to COVID: a comparison of vaccine development catch up on YouTube
  • Thursday 7 October, 6pm, John Caius: anxiety, obsession and the creation of tradition at the RCP, a talk by Louella Vaughan - past event catch up on YouTube
  • Wednesday 10 November, 6.30pm Alternative selfies: live virtual self-portrait class with London Drawing (past event)
  • Thursday 17 March, 12pm, RCP Unseen: lunchtime curator talk, (past event)

In person events:

  • Thursday 3 February, 5.30pm, RCP Museum Late (past event)
  • Thursday 10 March, 5.30pm, RCP Museum Late, (past event)

    Support us

    If you enjoyed the exhibition, please consider supporting us. Every donation helps us to keep providing you with exciting events and fascinating online content.

    To donate, visit the RCP’s donation page. Select the ‘other’ option to support the ‘Heritage Museum’ with a suggested £5 donation or however much you feel able to give.