Visual story

Getting here/Arriving

Wellcome Collection is on the Euston Road in central London, close to Euston station. You can get here by train to Euston, or by Tube to Euston, Euston Square or King’s Cross station. You can also get here by bus. Find out more about transport on our Getting here page.

A photograph showing the front of the Wellcome Collection building, a grand building built in 1936, and Euston Road in front of it. The pale stone facade features 12 decorative columns, of which the four central columns support a triangular roof like decoration between the fourth and fifth floors. Six floors are visible, and each floor has fifteen windows, except the ground floor where there are three doors at street level.
The Wellcome Collection building, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

A taxi will be able to drop you off outside our main entrance. If you have a Blue Badge you can park your vehicle in our basement car park, accessible from Gower Place. If you need assistance, a member of our staff may be able to collect you from Euston Square Tube station (pictured below) and accompany you to our building.

A photograph showing Euston Square underground station on Euston Road at street level with the Wellcome Trust building beyond it, and the Wellcome Collection building beyond that. A pavement runs along all three without the interruption of roads.
Euston Square Underground station with the Wellcome Trust building behind, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

You can call us on +44 (0)20 7611 2222 or email us at access@wellcomecollection.org to arrange parking and collection, and to discuss your access needs. Find out more on our Accessibility page.

The building

Our building is a large building, with banners saying “Wellcome Collection” on it. The main entrance is in the middle, at the front of the building. It is free to enter, and all our galleries and exhibitions are free; there is no need to book a ticket. Our exhibitions are open every day of the week except Mondays. You can find our complete opening hours on our Opening times page.

A photograph showing the Wellcome Collection entrance at street level on Euston Road. There are three doorways and a wide pavement runs in front of them. On either side there are revolving doors, and in the middle there is a set of double doors with a push-button for ease of access.
The Wellcome Collection building entrance, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

When you enter the building, there is a short flight of steps or a wheelchair lift up to the ground level, where there is a café, a bookshop and the Information Point. A member of our security team may ask to search your bag when you enter.

A diptych. The photograph to the left shows the inside of the entrance to the Wellcome Collection with an open air lift with a glass push-button door for wheelchair and pushchair access.  Alongside this is a short staircase, both of which take you up to the atrium visible above where further lifts, a spiral staircase, a cafe, and a bookshop are located. The photograph on the right shows a member of security staff standing behind a small table for bag checks to take place.
The Wellcome Collection entrance with lift and staircase and bag check, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

The entrance is bright and can sometimes be noisy and busy. There is a quieter space next to the spiral staircase.

A photograph taken at the foot of a broad architectural staircase called with a steel balustrade. The stairs rise from the atrium to the first floor and beyond with a glass wall beyond it on the same floor serving as an exhibition space.
The Wellcome Collection Atrium, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Members of our Visitor Experience Team will be at the Information Point, and work throughout the building. They wear black tops with the words “Ask me” on them. You can ask them for directions or assistance at any time.

Diptych. The photograph to the left shows a smiley Visitor Experience Assistant wearing a black t'shirt with a white Wellcome Collection logo and a pink name badge. The photograph to the right features the same Visitor Experience Assistant seen from the back. On the reverse of the t-shirt it says 'Ask me' in large white letters with straight yellow lines radiating outwards in a circle like a child's drawing of a sun.
Visitor Experience Assistant, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

There is step-free and level access to all floors of our building via lifts. There is a wheelchair lift at the entrance, which a member of our staff can help you use.

You can get around the building using the stairs and lifts. The café, bookshop and a temporary exhibition gallery (which is sometimes closed between exhibitions) are on level 0. There are two permanent galleries (which are open all the time) and another temporary exhibition gallery on level 1. The Reading Room is on level 2: this is usually a quiet space, but there are occasional events. Find out more about which exhibitions are open when you visit on our What’s on page.

A photograph of the first floor facing four lifts on the left, a staircase going downwards and upwards on the right, and a cloakroom directly opposite  had you come straight in with from Euston Road with the entrance behind you.
The Wellcome Collection Atrium, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

There are accessible toilets on all floors of the building. A Changing Places toilet with a hoist and room for carers is available on level 0. You can get a key for the Changing Places toilet from the Information Point.

A photograph of the Changing Places toilet with a white logo showing a wheelchair, adult changing table, and a hoist on a large blue door with parallel blue hand rails on adjacent walls.
Changing Places toilet, Eva Herzog. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

There will be occasional announcements that can be heard throughout the building. These can be quite loud. They are usually to let you know about tours of the galleries or other special events, which you can attend if you wish. If there is a fire alarm and you have to leave the building, this will be clearly stated, and members of our Visitor Experience Team will help you.

Being Human

Being Human is a permanent gallery on level 1. There are several entrances, and you can get to it using the large spiral staircase, or the lifts and stairs in the central stairwell.

A photograph of the entrance to Being Human as seen from the first floor. Open entrances without doors to the exhibition are on both sides of a central wood panelled wall with a neon orange sign hanging horizontally on it.
The Being Human Exhibition entrance, Thomas S.G. Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Being Human is about what it means to be human today. There are four sections: Genetics, Minds & Bodies, Infection, and Environmental Breakdown. The gallery contains about 50 artworks and scientific objects that raise questions about our health, our identity and who we trust in a changing world.

A photograph showing two glass cases side by side displaying exhibits at waist height in the Being Human exhibition. The glass cabinets are surrounded by pale wooden panelling, and are on black plinths. The wall behind with windows overlooking Euston Road is painted a pastel green. Other freestanding panelling can be seen with exhibits including a fish tank and audio guides hanging from the panelling.
Glass cases in the Being Human exhibition, Thomas S.G. Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Most people will spend 30 to 45 minutes in the gallery, but you can spend as much or as little time here as you like. There are four sections, but you can see right across the gallery, and pick out the things that interest you. There is no set order in which you have to look at things. You can leave and re-enter through any of the exits at any time.

A photograph showing the Being Human exhibition space with windows overlooking Euston Road to the left of the room and the Wellcome Collection Dynamic Stair, seen in the background through the open entrance, also on the left. A wooden panelled wall between the open entrance on the left and an open entrance on the right is painted dark blue and some exhibits are displayed on it. A life-size model wearing a visor and protective clothing is seen in the foreground on the left, and in the middle distance on the right a life-size transparent woman showing internal organs is displayed standing on a table with her arms raised above her head. Central to the image is a wooden table top on a black plinth with a freestanding rectangular backboard with light pink and blue graphics. Text is displayed in eight dark blue circles that run diagonally across the board.
Vaccine Confidence Cascade by Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick, Thomas S.G. Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

The gallery is a single room. It’s not too dark, and there are windows through which you can see the road and trees outside. There are lots of places to sit down, and plenty of space for groups and wheelchair users to move around and between the exhibits.

A photograph showing the Being Human exhibition space with windows running along a pastel green painted wall overlooking Euston Road directly opposite. A life-size transparent woman showing internal organs is displayed standing on a table with her arms raised above her head in the foreground. Further wooden topped tables on black plinths can be seen with electronic tablets, glass cabinets, and hanging audio handsets. Some of the wooden tables have wooden backboards and wooden benches with cushions.
Transparent Woman (Anatomical Figure), Thomas S.G. Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Every object has a caption describing it. The title of each object is also available in Braille. Each caption also has a number, which you can use to access BSL captions and audio descriptions for the object.

A photograph of the Being Human Transcript, blue with white text, and audio handsets relating to an audio performance titled 'Austerity' by an anonymous artist. The plaque reads 'This audio artwork responds to the system of assessments that many disabled people face when applying for financial support'. The plaque also displays the title in braille and a number relating to BSL captions.
Being Human Accessibility Guides, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

There is a shelf with extra resources to improve the accessibility of the gallery. These include large-print guides, a tactile plan of the gallery, a tactile book, devices with BSL captions, and devices with audio descriptions. They all use the object number and title to help you find the relevant information. These are all free for you to pick up and use, and you can choose whether you want to use them or not.

A photograph of the Being Human Large Print Guide with white text on a blue background displayed upright on a wooden panelled surface and surround.
Being Human Large Print Guide, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

You can touch some of the objects that are not in glass cases. The objects you are not allowed to touch are clearly labelled “Please do not touch”. Some objects have touch tiles next to the captions, which allow you feel what the texture or shape of the object is like without touching the object itself.

A photograph of a caption, black text shown as out of focus and displayed on a small silver display plaque positioned at 45 degrees to wooden surface, alongside a similar sized touch tile to allow visitors to feel a texture or shape of an exhibit without touching the object itself. The touch tile shows what looks like a series of cogs shown in relief.
A touch tile, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

There are also some objects you can handle. You can select music on a jukebox, press buttons to light up organs on an anatomical model, and rearrange the small objects on the desk.

A diptych. The photo on the left shows two visitors interacting with a jukebox. The bottom of the jukebox is made from metal and one of the visitors is pressing a button on it. The top of the juke box is a glass dome shape and is filled with glass spiral shapes which are illuminated. The juke box is against a pastel green wall, and there is a dark blue wooden panelled wall in the background on which exhibits hang. The photo on the right shows a rounded wooden desk with two shelves on the inside at seated level on which there are various objects made from materials such as plasticine and resin with labels hanging off them and text written on them. There are also three shelves around the outside of the desk below waist level. At the desk is what resembles an old wooden school chair except that the seat and back rest are covered in brown faux fur. In the background is a light pastel green wooden panelled wall on which exhibits are hung.
Juke Box Kin with glass sculpture by Laura Betham Wood and Pietro Viero, and Oh My Gosh, You're Wellcome...Kitten, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Two objects have a specific smell: ‘Resurrecting the Sublime’ smells of an extinct flower; and ‘5138008’ smells of breast milk (but doesn’t contain any actual milk). The smell is only present when you are very close or touch the objects.

Diptych. The photo on the left shows a visitor from the waist up rubbing and smelling a plain off-white panel hung vertically on a dark blue wood panelled wall. The panel stretches throughout the frame above the head height of the visitor and is about the same width of the visitors shoulders. It is several inches thick and undulates. The photo on the right shows a visitor bending down to smell a bronze gourd shaped sculpture, the texture of which is like a porous rock. The sculpture is sitting upright on a wooden panelled top and surround.
Visitors smelling exhibits Resurrecting the Sublime Christina Agapakis, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Sissel Tolaas, and 5318008 by Tasha Marks, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

There is a section about infection, which is quite self-contained and easily avoided. In this section there are some objects made of HIV-infected human blood in one of the display cases. These have been through a process that has rendered them inert: they are completely safe. There is also a display about do-it-yourself faecal transplants, but the kit on display has not been in contact with any human waste!

Diptych. The photo on the left shows a wooden panelled table top on which sits a food blender. A wooden panelled surround holds a small shelf on which sterile eye wash, VapoRub, and KY Jelly sit. To the right, hanging from a hook, is what resembles a pink hot water bottle with a valve at the bottom with a long clear plastic tube attached and trailing down the backboard onto the wooden table top. The photo on the right shows a glass case mounted on a wooden panelled wall containing three black marble like palm sized plasticised blood dishes in a line.
Faecal Transplant Kit, and Blood Objects by Base Stittgen, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Some exhibits have sound. In most cases you can listen by picking up an audio handset. Three objects play the sound out loud in the gallery, but it’s limited to a small area. You can tell where this area is by the speakers hanging from the ceiling overhead.

A photograph showing a wooden bench with yellow cushions in front of a large tv screen embedded in a dark blue wood panelled wall with two speakers hanging on long cords from the ceiling.
Speakers hanging from the ceiling in the Being Human Gallery, Kevin Percival. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Many objects in the gallery represent a variety of different human bodies and faces. Some include nudity and references to sex. There is a transparent anatomical model made entirely of plastic and wires. There is a mannequin dressed in personal protective equipment, including a helmet. There is a plastic mask of an imagined human face, which you might find slightly uncanny.

Other things that you might like or find interesting in the gallery include a gene-editing kit, an intricate paper sculpture of the bacteria in your gut, an interactive jukebox that plays songs about infectious diseases, and a sculpture of a refugee astronaut.

A photograph showing a life-size figure standing on a low wooden platform mounted on a black plinth beyond which is a dark blue painted wooden panelled wall on which exhibits hang. The life-size figure wears: blue and red cotton patterned moon boots with red rubber souls; a green and yellow patterned cotton space suit and gloves; and a reflective black spherical helmet. The refugee astronaut carries a net on his or her back filled with possessions such as a suitcase, a book, a teapot, and a telescope . On his or her back, there are also breathing tanks with long tubes connected to the spacesuit made from red and yellow patterned cotton.
Refugee Astronaut III by Yinka Shonibare CBE, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Things in the gallery that you might find relaxing include a desk that you can sit at, a fish tank, a film of a McDonald’s restaurant slowly filling with water, and an installation that appears at first to be a blank panel but will eventually tell you that “EVERYTHING IS OKAY”.

A photograph of a large off-white rectangular panel with EVERY THING IS OKAY in relief in large capital letters diagonally across the panel from left to right with one word on each diagonal line. Repeating undulating patterns also move across the panel in the same direction, and the text appears as though a relief in sand. The panel is hung on a light green wood panelled wall.
Everything is OK (beach) by Antoine Catala, Thomas S.G. Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).