Visual story

Before you travel

When Wellcome Collection reopened to the public after lockdown, we made some changes to make everyone’s visit as safe and enjoyable as possible. You can read more about how we are keeping you safe here.

If you have a temperature or any other Covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home. Unless you’re exempt, we’d appreciate it if you can keep your nose and mouth covered, to help keep everyone safe.

We are keeping the visitor numbers low. This means that everyone must book a free ticket before they come to the building.

You will be able to choose a date and time slot and will receive a ticket by email. If you don’t use a smartphone, staff will be able to help you book a ticket via email, on the phone or in person when you arrive if the building is not already full. 

You can find more information and book your ticket here. If you have any questions at all you can call us on +44 (0)20 7611 2222.

Photo of a laptop displaying the Eventbrite booking page for Museum Visit at the Wellcome Collection.  The Eventbrite page shows an orange button with a calendar icon which reads 'Select a date'. On the table are several books and a mug with pens in it. Behind the laptop is a book shelf.
Eventbrite booking page, Photo: Kathleen Arundell. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

To listen to the audio content in our exhibitions you will need a pair of headphones. You can either bring your own or borrow a pair from us.  

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. Our exhibitions are open every day of the week except Mondays. You can find our complete opening hours on our Opening times page. But remember, you need to book your ticket in advance at the moment.

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 platform lift up to level 0, where there is a café and Information Point. Our shop is closed at the moment. The entrance is bright and can sometimes be noisy and busy.  

A member of our security team may ask to check your bag when you enter. A Visitor Experience assistant will then check your ticket and tell you how to find your way around the building. 

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).

We are using a one-way system around the building to avoid crowds. This means, unless you prefer to use the lifts, you will use the central staircase straight ahead from the entrance to move up in the building, and the spiral staircase to go back down. There are yellow and green signs around the building to help you find your way.

A photograph showing wayfinding signs in the Wellcome Collection building. There are two yellow circular stickers on a light grey marble wall. Both stickers have blue writing and an arrow pointing upwards. The top sticker reads 'Reading Room' and the one below reads 'Library'.  Below the sticker signage is a lightswitch and a stair railing.
Covid Signage, Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. 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 platform lift at the entrance, which a member of our staff can help you use.

On level 0 there is one temporary exhibition space (which sometimes is closed between exhibitions). On level 1 there are two permanent galleries (which are open all the time) and another temporary exhibition gallery. 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 toilets on all floors, including accessible toilets and changing facilities. We have a Changing Places toilet on level 0. A radar key is needed to access the Changing Places toilet. If you do not have one, you can borrow one 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).

Straight ahead, past the stairs and the lift, there is a room with lockers of different sizes. There are instructions on the doors on how to use the lockers. Here you can leave any belongings, including bags up to the size of a cabin bag (56 x 45 x 25cm), which should not be taken into the galleries. There is a member of staff here to assist if needed.

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.

Some resources and objects in our galleries are meant to be touched and handled, but because of our Covid-19 restrictions we are not letting visitors use these at the moment. You will see signs in yellow and green asking you not to touch these things in the exhibitions.

Being Human

Being Human is a permanent gallery on level 1. There are several entrances; you can get to it by the central staircase or lifts and come back down again by the spiral staircase. The one-way system we have in place at the moment will direct you to the central staircase and the lifts.

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 painting.
Glass cases in the Being Human exhibition, Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. 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.

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. 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, Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. 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 and glass cabinets. Some of the wooden tables have wooden backboards and wooden benches with cushions.
Transparent Woman (Anatomical Figure), Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. 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, handheld players 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. At the moment some of the resources are not available because of Covid-19 safety measures.

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 and press buttons to light up organs on an anatomical model.

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 jukebox is a glass dome shape and is filled with glass spiral shapes which are illuminated. The jukebox is a  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 along the outside of the desk below waist level. In the background is a light pastel green wooden panelled wall on which a painting is hung. The painting is of a naked woman whose body is covered by various animals
Juke Box Kin with glass sculpture by Laura Betham Wood and Pietro Viero, and Oh My Gosh, You're Wellcome...Kitten, Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

One object has a specific smell: ‘5138008’ smells of breast milk (but doesn’t contain any actual milk). The smell is only present when you are very close to the object.

The photo shows a visitor bending down to smell a 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.
5138008, Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 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 plugging in your own headphones into the jack next to the object caption. 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.

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.

A photograph showing a visitor seated in a wheelchair looking at a model wearing a white hazmat suit, visor and green apron standing on a low wooden platform. On the green apron there is a stickered portrait of the carer that would have been wearing the suit whilst treating Ebola patients.

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 soles; 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 by Yinka Shonibare, Steven Pocock. © Wellcome. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Things in the gallery that you might find relaxing include 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).