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Semmelweis Museum, Library and Archive of the History of Medicine

Archive; Library; Museum
Museum: 1-3 Apród Str. Library and Archive: 12 Török Str.
Budapest H-1013
Benedek Varga, director general
+361 201 15 77
36 1 201 15 77
Fax: +361 375 39 36

The Semmelweis Museum, Library and Archives (SOMKL) is one of the national museums of Hungary. The Library part was founded in 1951, the Museum in 1965, and the Archive in 1972. However, both the library's and the museum's collection is based on the private library and museum of the Royal Association of Budapest Physicians, which was founded in 1837. The object collection of the Semmelweis Museum is over 50.000 items, which includes medical, surgical tools and equipment from prehistoric and ancient times up to the 21st century; old masters, modern and contemporary artworks (paintings, etchings, prints, and drawings) on healing personnel and presentations of illnesses, death, epidemics etc.; a huge collection of commemorative coins related to medicine from the Greek period up to the 201st c.; pharmacy jars, and pharmacy lab equipment, furniture from all ages; wax models of human anatomy and pathological anatomy; and collections of anthropology, folk medicine, and oriental items. The total number of entries of the Semmelweis Library is about 140.000. It is rich in 16th-18th century medical thought (theories, diagnoses and therapies) and the history of life sciences in general. Pre-20th c. books are mostly in Latin, German and Hungarian. The Semmelweis Archive consists primarily 19th —20th documents. Papers of various Hungarian medical societies, and outstanding Hungarian physicians including those of Ignaz Semmelweis and his contemporaries, and those of Nobel Prize laureate (1961) György von Békésy, etc.

Services: for opening hours (both for the museum and the library) please see our website. Museum galleries and the Library Reading Room can be visited accordingly. For archival and museum research our staff are available by appointment. Selected interlibrary loan; photocopying and reproduction for images of museum objects please contact us.


Monographs: Incunabula: 14; 16th c.: 803; 17th c.: 1694; 18th c.: 5382 19th c.: 26.792; 20th: 41.838 20th, 21st c.: 2700. Journals: approx. 30.000; Separata: 24.000.
Archival: 270 shelf metres of manuscripts (mostly 19-20th c.)
Museum's main collections (with number of items): surgical collection (approx. 8500); dentistry (approx.1500); gynecology and obstetrics (approx.1500); medical numismatics (coins, medals etc.) (approx.13.000); etchings (approx.4500); paintings (approx.350); anatomy and pathology moulage (28); pharmacy (jars, alborellos, various other vessels): (approx.28.000); photo: (approx.8200); prints (approx.500); medical, noble etc. diplomas (16th-21st c.) (approx.2500.)

Subject Strengths:
History of Anatomy; History of Dentistry; History of Gynecology and Obstetrics; History of Medicine; History of Midwifery; History of Pathology; History of Pharmacology and Pharmacy; History of Physiology; History of Surgery; Materia Medica
Last Updated:
11 Jun 2014