|Description||University Collections consists of a number of related collections and services distributed around the University and covering libraries, museums and galleries. They serve the needs of the University in teaching and research and provide a platform for cultural engagement, knowledge transfer and cultural exchange.
Edinburgh University Archives maintain the historical records of the University of Edinburgh (particularly post 1858 but many records date from earlier periods), its predecessors and affiliated bodies. Lothian Health Services Archive holds the historically important local records of NHS hospitals and other health-related material. Special Collections hold over 7000 linear metres of manuscripts & archives which have been aquired by gift, deposit or purchase. They include early mediaeval and Middle Eastern manuscripts, the papers of major Scottish Enlightenment figures, architectural drawings and the papers of 17th-20th century scientists. Special Collections also includes rare and early printed books, manuscripts, archives and theses.
The University’s other main collections are spread across the University, from accredited museums to informal departmental collections. The Fine Art Collections includes over 1200 items including watercolours, oils, prints, engravings, sculptures and busts. The Comparative Anatomy Collection consists of over 4,500 objects, including medical models, anatomical and phrenological casts, statues, original anatomical illustrations and prints, photographs, lantern slides, microscope slides, departmental archives, books, medical instruments and various other associated items. The Cockburn Geological Museum comprises a range of Earth Science materials, as well the archived work of famous Earth scientists dating back as far as the late eighteenth century. The School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library contain over 9000 recordings of songs, music, tales, verse, customs, beliefs and oral history as well as photography, fine and decorative art. The Natural History Collection comprises the entire invertebrate phyla and vertebrate classes, and is used for teaching. The Polish School of Medicine Historical Collection holds historic items from the establishment of the Polish School of Medicine in March 1941.
Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh are housed in Reid Concert Hall and St Cecilia’s Hall. On display are nearly 1000 items including stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments from Britain, Europe and from other continents as well as 50 of the world's most important and best-preserved early keyboard instruments: harpsichords, virginals, spinets, organs and fortepianos from the period of their first construction to around 1840, many in playing order, and a display of harps, lutes, citterns and guitars.
The University of Edinburgh Collections also consists of numerous departmental collections including archives, teaching materials, photographs in printed, slide, negative and digital form, furniture, fine and decorative art, scientific and medical instruments, audio/visual recordings, medical and zoological specimens, ethnographic and archaeological collections, commemorative memorabilia and medals as well as historic collections specific to the purpose of each department.|