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RCOG museum

Comprising artefacts and instruments in the fields of obstetrics, midwifery, surgery and gynaecology, and spanning over 500 years, the RCOG Museum is unique in the UK with its focus on women’s health care.

The Museum has grown through gifts and acquisitions since the foundation of the College, and now includes the complementary collection of the Royal College of Midwives.

The world famous Chamberlen forceps came to the RCOG in 1957, a gift from the Royal Society of Medicine, and are displayed on the 1st floor of the College. These 16th-17th century instruments were used in secret by the Chamberlens for over a century before their application became widespread. Their discovery in 1813, in an attic trapdoor at the family’s old house, allowed people to finally see the original designs of what became a ubiquitous tool in obstetrics. 

RCOG museum
Interactive museum at the RCOG

500 years: the birth of modern obstetrics and gynaecology

This display takes visitors through 500 years of innovation in women’s health care, from anatomy to IVF. The biographies of 54 key characters in the field, from Virginia Apgar to Percival Willughby, and information on the topics covered can be found on the touch screen.

The development of this exhibition was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Clore Duffield Foundation.

Art works

In addition to the medical artefacts, the College has a considerable collection of paintings and sculptures related to the field of women’s health care and its practitioners, symbols of fertility and well-being, and the College’s history.

Portraits of past Presidents, Fellows and Members are displayed throughout the College building – many of these can be viewed on the Art UK project website.

Visit the Museum

For more information or to make an appointment to see either the exhibition or the reserve collection, please email the museum team

Elsewhere on the site

History of the College
Find out how the RCOG was founded, and its subsequent development
What we do
Find out about the College’s current activities and scope of work