The University of St Andrews is Scotland’s first University, founded in 1413. The University Museums are rooted in and draw inspiration from this 600-year history of research and teaching, and the pursuit of knowledge for the common good.
Our collections are of national and international interest and importance and consist of around 115,000 artefacts and specimens.
Museum collections are featured at the Wardlaw Museum and the Bell Pettigrew Museum, stored and studied in a dedicated Collections Centre, displayed across the University campus, and lent for exhibition nationally and internationally.
In line with our vision to reimagine university museums through curiosity and conversation, this blog aims to share insights on our work and projects, hoping to create a community of students, professionals, and museum goers willing to help us shape the future of the heritage sector.
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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 nineteenth 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 twentieth 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.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11am-7pm, Weekends: 10am-5pm
The Wardlaw Museum takes visitors inside the university with thematic galleries on its groundbreaking research and global impact, showcasing its extraordinary art, history, science and natural history collections.
Complemented by an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions, interactive experiences for all ages, and a beautiful sea view from the terrace and garden, the Museum is a major new cultural space for St Andrews.
For further information and suggestions to tailor your visit, find out what there is to see.
Bell Pettigrew Museum
Opening Hours: Open to students and staff of the University, Monday to Friday, 1pm-5pm. Open to the public during School Holidays.
The Bell Pettigrew Museum opened in 1912, displaying natural history specimens alongside other collections. Today, the Bell Pettigrew Museum displays fossils and skeletons, taxidermy, and spirit collections, and is organised taxonomically, taking visitors on a journey through the animal kingdom.
The Museum is located in the Bute Medical Building in St Mary’s Quad, and is host to events of all kinds, from music performances to family activities.
Find out how to get to the Bell Pettigrew.