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Forensics: The anatomy of crime


26 February 2015 - 21 June 2015

Forensics: the anatomy of crime

Why not visit the exhibition on a Friday evening? We’re now open until 22.00 on the first Friday of every month. Find out more.

Please note: At busy times, there may be queues and timed tickets may be in operation.

'Forensics: the anatomy of crime’ explores the history, science and art of forensic medicine. It travels from crime scene to courtroom, across centuries and continents, exploring the specialisms of those involved in the delicate processes of collecting, analysing and presenting medical evidence. It draws out the stories of victims, suspects and investigators of violent crimes, and our enduring cultural fascination with death and detection.

The exhibition contains original evidence, archival material, photographic documentation, film footage, forensic instruments and specimens, and is rich with artworks offering both unsettling and intimate responses to traumatic events. Challenging familiar views of forensic medicine shaped by fictions that came out of the sensational reporting of late Victorian murder cases and popular crime dramas, ‘Forensics’ highlights the complex entwining of law and medicine, and the scientific methods it calls upon and creates.

A wide programme of events will accompany the exhibition and a publication of the same name, by crime writer Val McDermid is available (see below).

Video gallery


What do you have on your person that defines your identity? Every contact leaves a trace; leave yours with us.

Ab uno disce omnes is a new work by artist Šejla Kamerić commissioned by Wellcome Collection as part of the exhibition.


The book examines techniques - from DNA analysis to entomology to digital evidence - that experts use to solve crimes.

Criminel, by 4PM Games, is a noir detective mystery game, emerging from the murderous streets of 19th-century Paris.


2 April 2015 - 26 April 2015

From mugshots to microscopes and surveillance to stains, this installation investigates the traces we all leave behind.

Image galleries

Image gallery

Every crime scene is different – an intricate puzzle in which each object tells a story.

Image gallery

The modern morgue, or mortuary, was established as a dedicated building in the 19th century.

Image gallery

The police laboratory has come a long way since the early days of forensics.

Image gallery

The reconstruction process is vital to every investigation, all the more so when individuals go missing.

Image gallery

The courtroom marks the concluding stage of the journey for medical evidence when it is brought to bear in a case.

From Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library contains a wealth of material charting the development of forensic medicine, much of which has been digitised to browse online. Here you can explore just a few documents and images from our collections.