Exploring the history of medicine using our collections



From smallpox vaccination to the surprising preponderance of obstetricians in Irish literature, our exhibitions use our collections to tell the story of medicine and medical education in Ireland.


“The truths of pathology” Morbid anatomy, microscopes, and the Pathological Society of Dublin

Watercolour illustration of a brain
Watercolour illustration of a brain

Pathology in the nineteenth century was a broad field, aiming to understand the causes and nature of diseases. Unlike today, when pathology is its own specialty within medicine, in the nineteenth century, pathological research was carried out by physicians, surgeons and obstetricians. In Ireland, there was a particular focus on linking the clinical observation of patients to the signs found in their bodies, post-mortem.

This exhibition explores two ways that pathology was studied in the nineteenth century:  morbid anatomy and the microscope. It also examines the role of the Pathological Society of Dublin in promoting pathology research and education.

Our onsite exhibition is normally open weekdays between 10am and 4pm. We ask visitors to check in advance of their visit that it will be possible to view the exhibition on the day of their choice. 

If you can't visit in person you can also view this exhibition online.


Online exhibitions

Climate and Health Art Competition

In August 2023 RCPI issued an open call to artist to submit works on the theme of climate and health. The judging panel shortlisted 48 pieces, which were displayed in an exhibition in October 2023. The shortlisted works can all be viewed online

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Online Exhibitions

Online Book Shop

Want to find out more about the history of the College and medicine in Ireland? We have a selection of history books available in our online shop.

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