History of the museum

Sir Harry Brookes Allen was appointed Professor of Descriptive and Surgical Anatomy and Pathology in 1882. He became Professor and Chair of Pathology when that discipline was separated from Anatomy in 1906.

In his letter of acceptance to the Vice-Chancellor and Members of the University Council in 1882 Professor Allen wrote:

One of the final objects which I set before myself is the creation of a large and efficient Museum of Anatomy and Pathology in the Medical School, a small but valuable nucleus being already in place.

Over the following 120 years or so, the museum became separated into collections which were directly associated with the two departments (Anatomy and Neuroscience, and Pathology).

In 2004, the museum collections were amalgamated into a single space as the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology. The idea was to display the normal anatomy and histology of the organs or systems alongside examples of various pathologies, together with the corresponding radiology. Many of the 12,000 rare and valuable specimens and artefacts are of historical significance, with some dating back to the late 1800s.

The museum collections also include material from the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Austin Hospital and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Image Shown: Sir Harry Brookes Allen (1854-1926), photograph, Department of Pathology archive.

Opening hours

Collection is not open to the general public. Swipe card access is provided to students enrolled in Anatomy and/or Pathology.

Monday to Friday
8.30am to 5.30pm

Closed Saturdays and Sundays


Due to the emerging COVID-19 situation and policy statements from the State and Federal Government, University Museums will be closed until further notice. Thank you for your understanding as we endeavour to keep our community members safe during this uncertain time.