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Online Events National Museum of Scotland

Silent Teachers: The Story of Modern Body Donation

13 Sep 2022
19:30 - 20:30

Free, with optional donation

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Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. Wellcome Collection.

Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. Wellcome Collection.

Inspired by our current exhibition, Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life, our expert panel will discuss the modern approach to anatomical study and body donation in this online event. 

In the 18th century, Edinburgh was Britain’s leading centre for medical teaching. As anatomists sought to understand the human body, the demand for bodies to dissect and study vastly outstripped legitimate supply. As a result, grave robbing became common practice.

Since then legislation has ensured bodies used today are acquired, with proper consent, through donation.

From their perspectives as exhibition curator, professor, medical student and living donor, our expert panel will discuss the modern approach to body donation and contrast the ethics, practices and beliefs of today with those from two centuries ago.

Our speakers are:

  • Sophie Goggins, Senior Curator of Biomedical Science at National Museums Scotland and co-curator of Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life.
  • Tom Gillingwater, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh. Tom holds overall responsibility for the anatomical teaching and research activities at the University, including their body donation programme.
  • Joyce Faulkner, widow of a donor and a living donor herself.
  • Beth Fitt, 5th year medical student at the University of Edinburgh. Beth holds a degree in Anatomy.

This event includes a live Q&A chaired by Dr Sam Alberti, Director of Collections at National Museums Scotland.

Further information

Taking part

This event is for those aged 14 and over.  

  • This event includes automatic captioning.  
  • A recording of the event will be made available if you’re not able to join us on the night.  
  • The event will be hosted on Zoom. To book, please register your name and e-mail address via Eventbrite in the website link.    
  • Please note that you need only book one ticket (either an attendee ticket or an attendee with donation ticket) per household/e-mail address.  Prior to the event you will receive a confirmation e-mail with instructions on how to join.   
  • Following the talk there will be a Q & A session.   

Please note this event will be recorded but your cameras and microphones will automatically be switched off.  


If you have any queries surrounding this event please contact


This event includes automatic captioning.

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