Since our foundation in 1518 by Henry VIII, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has assembled an internationally significant collection of artworks, books, medical artefacts and manuscripts. We are custodians of over 5,000 paintings, drawings, miniatures and sculptures, and we preserve more than 100,000 books and manuscripts in our Heritage Library.
Our mission is to care for and conserve our collections and to educate and inspire the public by sharing them with as many people as possible. Our most important items are on permanent display and attract over 32,000 visitors every year.
We run a rolling programme of exhibitions and make regular loans to museums and galleries around the world. We offer late night tours, life drawing classes, craft workshops, object handling sessions, creative writing lessons and transcribathons.
Unlike many museums, we receive no public funding and we make no charge for individual admission. The RCP makes a block grant each year for essential work, but we rely on outside support to maintain the richness and variety of our public engagement.
This includes our schools programme, which uses the collections to introduce 11–18-year-olds to the world of medicine, the range of jobs available in healthcare today, and the skills, qualities and knowledge needed to succeed.
Learn more about our historic collections here.
The Dorchester Patrons
The Dorchester patrons are the most committed supporters of our Library, Archive, and Museum, who make a ring-fenced donation of £50 a month or £600 a year. The patrons are named in honour of Henry Pierrepoint, first Marquis of Dorchester. Lord Dorchester bequeathed his library of books on medicine, law and botany to the college in 1680, on condition that the collection would never be broken up or sold.
The RCP recognises the support of patrons in a number of ways, including offering a programme of special curator-led tours, ranging from the Archive Room to the collection stores. Patrons are invited to a special preview before the public opening of each exhibition, and to an annual tea party with the Harveian librarian. They receive a patrons’ newsletter and are acknowledged in both the annual report and in a dedicated Patrons’ book, held in the RCP Archives.
For more information, please contact the Development Team at email@example.com or call +44 (0)20 3075 1785.