Comments: Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

University of Dundee Museum Collections, Dundee, Scotland, DD1 4HN, UK,


The University of Dundee was founded as University College, Dundee in 1881. Despite its strong focus on the sciences, one of its founding principles was that education would be offered equally to students of both sexes. Several significant museum collections were built up, most notably that of D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, the first Professor of Biology. He created a large Museum of Zoology which he used for teaching and research, in particular drawing on parts of the collection in writing his masterpiece On Growth and Form, which laid the foundations for the science of mathematical biology. Thompson's original museum was demolished in the 1950s but a new D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum was opened in 2008 to display his surviving collection and encourage interdisciplinary interest in his work.

Dundee’s Medical School was formally established in 1897 and is now recognised as a world leader. Its history, and that of medical practice generally in the area, is told in the Tayside Medical History Museum at Ninewells Hospital. Its collections tell the story of Dundee’s pioneering contributions to radiology, cardiology, minimal-access surgery and cancer research among others.


Various other science collections are held in store or displayed around the campus, including scientific instruments from Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Psychology, Electrical Engineering (including objects associated with J. A. Ewing) and Biological Sciences; teaching charts and models from Botany, Zoology, Anatomy, Mathematics and Chemistry; and specimens from Dentistry and Pathology.

More about the various collections can be found on our website:

Research opportunities

The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum currently attracts the greatest interest from researchers, due to the increasing interest in his ideas and the way they have inspired thinkers and creators in many fields. As well as a wide range of zoology specimens, the museum also holds many of Thompson’s original teaching models, charts and slides. The museum is only regularly open to the public during the summer vacation, but researchers can make an appointment to visit at any time

The main displays of the Tayside Medical History Museum are open daily but much of the collection is in stores at Ninewells Hospital and can also be visited by appointment, as can any of the other science collections on the main University campus.

Almost all of the collection has been catalogued and can be searched online by object name and/ or general category at

All research enquires should be directed to:
Matthew Jarron, Curator
University of Dundee Museum Services
Dundee DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0) 1382 384310

Curator Matthew Jarron has a particular expertise on D’Arcy Thompson and has published two short books about Thompson and the museum (D'Arcy Thompson and his Zoology Museum in Dundee (2010) and A Glimpse of a Great Vision: The D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Art Collection (2014)) as well as several academic papers and a themed issue of the journal Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (2014). Dundee’s medical history has also been the subject of various papers drawing on the expertise and collections of the Tayside Medical History Museum.
Matthew Jarron, February 2017