Home About usPart of About us

Policies and plans

Photograph looking from up high down the centre of an irregular spiral staircase. The sides of the staircase are grey metal with cream stone steps. In the distance on the ground floor of the staircase is a small dark blurred figure about to start climbing the stairs.
Wellcome Collection, Photo: Benjamin Gilbert. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Strategic documents

Access Policy

Our Access Policy sets out our commitment to maximising access to our museum and library, and to identifying the ways in which we achieve this across the organisation. The policy relates to all collections we hold, as well as our services, activities, facilities, content and programmes on site, off site and online.

Access Policy (PDF 290kb)

Access, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Our goal is to inspire and support everyone connected with Wellcome Collection to create and maintain a culture that is inclusive and diverse. Nurturing different perspectives is explicit in our vision and core to our mission. Our Access, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy explains our ambitions and intentions.

Access, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

The colonial roots of our collections, and our response

Our collections are built on collections assembled in the early 20th century, following a racist, sexist and ableist system of cultural hierarchies, and our collections include many items that were taken from the people who made them through colonial structures of violence and control. Our responsibility to be honest and transparent about the past injustices in which our collections are rooted has led to a series of initiatives to change the ways we manage and use our collections.

The colonial roots of our collections, and our response

Forward Plan

The Forward Plan covers the period from March 2018 to March 2023. It will be reviewed annually, providing a flexible framework to guide the development of Wellcome Collection, and help us capitalise on opportunities to inspire and encourage new ideas about health through our collections and programmes.

Forward Plan (PDF 988kb)

Research Development Strategy

We aim to develop and manage a portfolio of activity that places us at the centre of an experimental and vibrant research culture, blending different research perspectives and practices, and demonstrating diverse ways of exploiting our collections to inspire and support new ideas.

Research Development Strategy (PDF 488kb)

Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding refers to the range of measures in place to protect people from harm, abuse or maltreatment. It applies to both children and adults, and some groups may be more at risk than others.

Safeguarding Policy

Digital Safeguarding

This policy outlines our approach to digital safeguarding.

Digital Safeguarding

Collections policies

Access to Personal and Sensitive Information in our Collections

These guidelines set out the criteria we use to assess sensitivity across our collections (both physical and digital) and the bases on which we make these collections available and manage access.

Access to Personal and Sensitive Information in Our Collections (PDF 1175kb)

Care of Human Remains Policy

We own, borrow and display human remains. This policy outlines our approach to the care of human remains in our collections and on loan to us, including the procedure for making a claim for their return.

Most of our human remains are within Sir Henry Wellcome’s Museum Collection, which is on loan to the Science Museum. You can find out more about the human remains held by the Science Museum here, including a list of the remains. You can also read statements of decisions regarding the return of some human remains.

Care of Human Remains Policy

Collections Information Policy

This policy provides a high-level explanation of what kinds of collections information we have, and why and when we gather, create, hold and maintain this information in the ways that we do. Collections information is critical not only to good collections management but, importantly, must evolve and improve continuously to support our vision.

Collections Information Policy (PDF 671kb)

Collections Development Policy

Our collections are unique and distinctive in their range and variety, and we want them to remain so. This policy describes how we actively develop our combined museum, archive and library collections, and ensures both acquisition and disposal are carried out openly and with transparency.

Collections Development Policy (PDF 477kb)

Conservation and Collections Care Policy

How we conserve and care for our collections is central to helping us achieve our core aims and objectives. The Conservation and Collections Care Policy articulates our stewardship of the collections, and our approach to balancing the preservation of and access to the collections with long-term planning aspirations.

Conservation and Collections Care Policy (PDF 812kb)

We have taken a ‘reasonable endeavours’ approach to finding rights holders for material that we have digitised. This document sets out the circumstances under which we will remove online material from our website.

Copyright clearance and takedown guidelines

Digital Preservation Policy

This policy explains our approach to caring for our collections in digital formats. It explains how and why we seek to balance preservation concerns with access to these collections in the long term.

Digital Preservation Policy (PDF 344kb)

Digitisation Strategy

This policy describes our approach to digitising our collections: our processes, our tools, and the content that we plan to digitise.

Digitisation Strategy (PDF 278kb)

Library Computer Use Policy

You can use your laptop and other mobile devices in the library for research and study. If you're a library member you can also use the library computers and printing facilities according to these guidelines.

Library Computer Use Policy

Loans Out Policy

This policy defines our processes and standards for lending from our collections and acts as a guide to borrowers about our loans processes.

Loans Out Policy

Statement of intent regarding culturally sensitive items in our collections

We hold many items which are culturally sensitive, including sacred items, and items that should be kept secret. We are committed to working with source communities to develop appropriate care, storage, public display, access arrangements and ownership of such items. 

Statement of intent regarding culturally sensitive items in our collections

Use of electronic resources

We subscribe to a range of online databases and collections of e-journals and e-books. These guidelines describe permitted and prohibited use of licensed online e-resources by members of the library.

Use of electronic resources

Terms and conditions of use agreements

Library conditions of use

These are the terms and conditions for using the library at Wellcome Collection.

Library conditions of use (PDF 39kb)

Venue Hire Terms and Conditions

These are the terms and conditions for hiring one of our spaces. 

Venue Hire Terms and Conditions (PDF 114kb)