This new space for science, arts and medicine isn’t yet on everyone’s cultural radar. It will be soon.
The Wellcome Collection was opened yesterday by James Watson, the giant of science who co-discovered the structure of DNA. Watson said that we Brits ‘should be proud’ to boast such a centre, lambasting the rest of Europe and particularly the USA for lacking decent public science venues.
And it really is a treasure. Three galleries chart the history of medicine without ever becoming tedious. In the same building, you can view sculpture by Antony Gormley, Japanese sex aids, anatomical drawings from da Vinci, a sperm whale’s heart, a robot from the Human Genome Project, and a complete transcript of that genome, over many, many volumes.
The Collection is based around the personal acquisitions of Sir Henry Wellcome. A selection from the million items he amassed is on display, coupled with new exhibits and artwork tackling modern medicine, and a temporary section exploring the heart. The venue will also put on weekly public events, adding to London’s already bustling science scene.
You really have to go and see this one. The Wellcome Collection puts both science and Euston Road back on the cultural map. And the café’s damn good to.
The Wellcome Collection is free of charge and open from today. It is managed by the Wellcome Trust, at 183 Euston Road.