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Wellcome Collection

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Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection
Wellcome Collection is located in Greater London
Wellcome Collection
Location within Greater London
Established 2007
Location Euston Road, London NW1
Type Museum and exhibitions
Visitors Over 500,000 per annum
Director Dr Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes
Curator James Peto, Head Curator, Temporary Exhibitions
Public transit access Euston rail and London Underground stations

Wellcome Collection is a museum based at 183 Euston Road, London, displaying an unusual mixture of medical artifacts and original artworks exploring 'ideas about the connections between medicine, life and art'.[1] Founded in 2007, Wellcome Collection now attracts over 500,000 visitors per year and is advertised as 'the free destination for the incurably curious'. The venue offers visitors contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, the world-renowned Wellcome Library, a café, a bookshop and conference facilities.

History and development

Wellcome Collection is part of the Wellcome Trust, founded by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936). An extensive and enthusiastic traveller, Henry Wellcome amassed a huge collection of books, paintings and objects, on the theme of historical development of medicine worldwide. There was an earlier Wellcome Historical Medical Museum at 54a Wigmore Street, housing artifacts from around the world.[2]

The Wellcome Trust moved its administrative offices into their new Gibbs Building (designed for the Trust by Michael Hopkins and Partners) on the adjoining site in Euston Road, completed 2004: thereby creating an opportunity for a new public venue in the old Wellcome Building. The collection opened to the public in June 2007.[3]

Having been open since 2007, Wellcome Collection plans to open additional public spaces in the building in autumn 2014.

The collections

The first printout of the human genome to be presented as a series of books.

Medicine Man A permanent display of a small part of Henry Wellcome's collection.

Medicine Now A permanent exhibition using art, mixed media displays and objects to present some aspects of modern medicine and of the work of the Wellcome Trust. This area features a postcard wall where visitors are encouraged to contribute drawings.

Exhibition space A changing programme of events and exhibitions.

Previous exhibitions

  • Foreign Bodies, Common Ground [1]
  • Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan [2]
  • Death: A Self-Portrait [3]
  • Superhuman [4]
  • Brains: The Mind as Matter [5]
  • Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings [6]
  • Felicity Powell – Charmed Life: The solace of objects [7]
  • Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life [8]
  • High Society [9]
  • Identity [10]
  • Bobby Baker's Diary Drawings [11]
  • War and Medicine [12]
  • From Atoms to Patterns [13]
  • Life Before Death [14]
  • Sleeping and Dreaming [15]
  • The Heart [16]

The building foyer and public areas usually include a 1950 work by Pablo Picasso[4] (originally on a wall in John Desmond Bernal's flat in Torrington Square) and one by Anthony Gormley.[5] However these are not on view during building works (2013–2014). A figure by Marc Quinn [6] was originally lying unprotected on the stone floor, then moved inside a glass case, and is also not currently on view.

Wellcome Library

Three leeches attend a grasshopper, prescribing a course of bloodletting, cartoon by Jean-Ignace-Isidore Gérard c.1832. Wellcome Library collections.

The Wellcome Library provides access to collections of books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day[7]

See also


  1. ^ Wellcome Collection short-listed for The Art Fund Prize 2008
  2. ^ 54a Wigmore Street
  3. ^ Guardian report on the opening
  4. ^ Bernal's Picasso goes on show in London at Wellcome Collection
  5. ^ Installation of a cast iron figure by Anthony Gormley, suspended upside-down from the ceiling
  6. ^ White Cube: the Chemical Life Support figures, one of which was shown in the foyer
  7. ^ Wellcome Library

External links

  • Official website

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