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Museums

The Museums of the University of St Andrews are rooted in and draw inspiration from the University’s 600-year history of research and teaching, and the pursuit of knowledge for the common good.

Their vision is to reimagine university museums, through curiosity and conversation.

History

The first museum at the University of St Andrews was founded in 1838 by the Literary and Philosophical Society, a unique partnership between the University and town that worked actively to build the collection in the 19th century. By 1912 the museum had outgrown its original location in Upper College Hall and was redisplayed in the newly-built Bell Pettigrew Museum. Throughout the 20th century, there were displays in a number of locations across the campus, but from 2008 these found a new focus when MUSA (the Museum of the University of St Andrews) opened on the Scores, presenting the history of the University of St Andrews through highlights from its collections. By the end of its first decade, however, this award-winning museum had reached capacity and a programme of strategic development was planned.

Collections

The Museums’ collections are of national and international interest and importance and consist of around 115,000 artefacts and specimens reflecting more than 600 years of academic enquiry, creativity and innovation. Among them are three Recognised Collections of National Significance: our Heritage, Chemistry, and Scientific Instruments collections.

The Museums’ enduring mission is to steward and share these collections, engaging people everywhere with the intellectual and cultural life of St Andrews.

These are active collections, and although it is only ever possible to display a selection from the collections, we welcome researchers who would like to make an appointment to study them in the Collections Centre. We are working on an ambitious plan to catalogue and digitise the entire collection, but that is a work in progress and the online catalogue does not yet include every object, so we welcome enquiries relating to objects or to collection areas.

University Museums

Museum collections are featured in the Wardlaw Museum and the Bell Pettigrew Museum, stored and studied in a dedicated Collections Centre, displayed across the University and lent for exhibition nationally and internationally. 


General enquiries

Email: museumenquiries@st-andrews.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 1711