Wellcome Collection is five years old today. Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes reflects on over twenty exhibitions, hundreds of events, and experimental approaches to a myriad of topics.
Wellcome Collection celebrates its fifth birthday today, just a few days after closing its most popular exhibition to date. Over 100,000 people visited our Brains show, with almost 1500 streaming in per day. They encountered an imaginative breadth that has become our trademark, with contemporary art brought alongside historical medical artefacts, scientific ideas mixed with cultural insights, and a refusal to follow the accustomed intellectual channels. The show it replaced, Infinitas Gracias, couldn’t have been more different: a parade of vibrant and moving votive paintings commissioned by ordinary Mexicans wishing to express thanks for divine interventions that allowed them to survive troubles and disasters.
Both exhibitions, along with the twenty others that preceded them and the weekly events that we have programmed along the way, have taken by turns playful, surprising, enchanting and informative approaches to exploring those aspects of the human condition where medicine, art and life come together. We launched Wellcome Collection in 2007 as an experimental approach to engaging an incurably curious public. Since then, we have been delighted to welcome an ever growing audience who have helped us explore a myriad of topics from flesh to war, from dreaming to dirt, and from hearts to hands. We are even more excited about what we can do in the next five years.
What are your memories of our first five years? Your must curious, inspiring or thought-provoking moment at Wellcome Collection? Tell us in the comments below…