In 2012 the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), located in the former Royal Mineral Water Hospital, opened a small museum to showcase their collection. Following the sale of the Royal Mineral Water Hospital building and the acquisition of the RNHRD by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH), a clear need was identified to secure the future of the range of artefacts and artwork in the RNHRD collection housed in the former Royal Mineral Water Hospital.

Bath Medical Museum (BMM) gained independent charitable status [Registered Charity: 1176084] in 2017 in order to continue managing and promoting the museum and to seek funding and location for a permanent medical museum in Bath. The museum has since grown and, in addition to hosting much of the RNHRD Collection on loan from the RUH, now includes the John Kirkup Collection as well as a number of loans and donations from private individuals.

Mission Statement

To preserve and promote the history and importance of medicine in the city of Bath, with a focus on the importance of its thermal waters in treatment, therapy and wellbeing; and to advocate the benefits of education, health and wellbeing for all.

The museum will engage and educate diverse audiences through a variety of traditional and modern methods such as exhibitions, digital content, guided tours and events. The museum tells the story of how the spa influenced the development of medical practice in Bath, both through the history of one of the first specialist hospitals in the country, the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, as well as the varied general medical practice across the city.

Vision Strategy

In 2019, Bath Medical Museum entered a new and exciting phase of development. Our vision is to become a true ‘museum without walls’, one of the first in Bath. We will work to build a ‘city-wide museum’ comprising a museum experience that encompasses all parts of the city and its medical heritage, focusing first and foremost on the influence of spa water on medical practice and treatment. This will be implemented with the help of our partners from across the medical, education and business sectors. The story of Bath’s medical and spa heritage is a crucial part of the city’s identity. By supporting us, you are making sure that story is preserved for future generations.


“A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.”
International Council of Museums (ICOM)
August 2022