Photograph of the Medicine Man exhibition at Wellcome Collection showing a wall of oil paintings with two visitors standing in front.
Medicine Man exhibition, Benjamin Gilbert. Source: Wellcome Collection. CC BY.
Free admission Now on

Medicine Man

Explore the fascinating life of Henry Wellcome through the objects of his extraordinary collection

Henry Wellcome was a man of many parts: entrepreneur, philanthropist, patron of science and pioneer of aerial photography. He also created one of the world's great museums: a vast stockpile of evidence about our universal interest in health and the body.

More than 150 years after his birth in 1853, this exhibition reunites a cross-section of extraordinary objects from his collection, ranging from diagnostic dolls to Japanese sex aids, and from Napoleon's toothbrush to George III's hair. It also provides a very different perspective on some of our own obsessions with medicine and health.

In 'Medicine Man' some objects are gathered by type and others by broad cross-cultural themes. Seven other objects are presented individually and are examined by a variety of commentators from different backgrounds, to show that one object can mean many different things and tell many different stories.

Borrow a free digital guide and learn about Henry Wellcome's wonderful curios (available in English, French and BSL).

This exhibition is free. See opening hours. Some non-flash photography is permitted in this exhibition. See our photography policy.


Our opening times will change between 5 May 20187 May 2018. Please check our modified opening times for details before you travel.

DayGalleriesLibrary
MonClosed10:0018:00
Tue10:0018:0010:0018:00
Wed10:0018:0010:0018:00
Thu10:0022:0010:0020:00
Fri10:0018:0010:0018:00
Sat10:0018:0010:0016:00
Sun11:0018:00Closed
DayRestaurantCaféShop
MonClosed08:3018:0009:0018:00
Tue11:0018:0008:3018:0009:0018:00
Wed11:0018:0008:3018:0009:0018:00
Thu11:0022:0008:3022:0009:0022:00
Fri11:0018:0008:3018:0009:0018:00
Sat11:0018:0009:3018:0010:0018:00
Sun11:0018:0010:3018:0011:0018:00

Access information

This exhibition is on level 1

Step-free access is available to all floors of the building

Large print guides, transcripts and magnifiers are available in the gallery