A Scandal At Surgeon's Hall

May 23, 2015

You may have seen my tweets last weekend (and in the run up to) where I was very excited for the Festival of Museums. This is something I hadn't seen until I was emailed about it inviting me along to an event. Across Scotland museums were holding events to encourage the public to engage with their local history, and get to experience some history / archaeology in action. What with history being my fave thing, I decided to go to two events on the Saturday - Burke's Bones and A Scandal At Surgeon's Hall. 

You may have heard of Burke and Hare before - a very famous pair of murders who sold the bodies of their victims to Dr Knox to perform anatomy on them. It's a super popular tale in Scotland, and especially in Edinburgh where you can visit the streets that the two walked. Since I know a fair amount about the brutal murders that occurred, I was super excited to go along to hear a lecture on Burke and Hare, and a chance to see the Anatomy Museum where Burke's skeleton is still displayed. It was such an interesting talk, and great to visit the museum again to see some of the more squeamish exhibits.

That night I then attended 'A Scandal At Surgeon's Hall'. I was SO excited to go along to this event, and decided to take along my sister and her boyfriend since I hadn't seen them all Easter. The event had everything going for it - a murder mystery, a ceilidh, fortune tellers, magicians and face painting. And best of all we were encouraged to come in costume. We tried of course, but our attempts at Victorian style costumes ended up looking more 1920s, but nonetheless it was great to see 200 people all dressed in Victorian / Steam punk inspired get ups.

One room had the 'crime scene' in it which we had to solve, using clues dotted around the room. We made a pretty good attempt, and came almost close to solving it, after spending about an hour deliberating over different theories of 'who dunnit?'. The decorations were amazing for the room were amazing. So much effort was put into creating the murder scene, with hand drawn medical diagrams and even a dummy staged as a the victim. It was incredible to see the crime scene and it really added to the atmosphere of the night.

The majority of the night was spent upstairs at the ceilidh. The band were amazing and got every one up off their feet dancing. We spent so much time dancing, that unfortunately we missed the fortune teller, which we were gutted about, but we were quick back up on the dance floor!

We did make a stop at the face painting station, and I was in love with the design that the woman painted on my face. They were all so talented, and I was so impressed!

The night unfortunately came to an end at 11 o'clock, and a couple hundred victorian people spilled out onto the streets of Edinburgh. It was such an amazing night, so much fun and not something you get to do often.

As I've said before, history is so important and its great to see the different ways that history can engage the public, especially young children. Make sure you take a trip to your local museum to see what history surrounds you, it is so fascinating. I'm so glad I heard about Festival of Museums, and got to attend some of the events, I can't wait to see what events are held next year.  

Here's the three of our outfits for the night, you can decide how well we did!

Were you in Scotland for Festival of Museums 2015?
Let me know what your favourite thing about history is, I'd love to get chatting with some history buffs!


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  1. I've always wanted to go to one of those murder mystery style evenings where you have clues and stuff!
    Rachel Coco

    1. I've always wanted to go to one too, this was my first one and it was awesome. Although I think I'll have to go along to more to get better at it! xx