Wellcome Collection announces 300 000 visits in first year
19 June 2008
"One of the most thought-provoking exhibitions I've been to in years"
Janet Street Porter, Independent
"A refreshingly broad cultural experience which manages to be accessible without being dumbed down"
Nick Hackworth, Evening Standard
"...you will spill back on to the Euston Road feeling both exhilarated and ever so slightly more intelligent"
Nigel Richardson, Daily Telegraph
London's latest cultural venue, Wellcome Collection, today announces that it has attracted over 300 000 visits since launching, in time for celebrating its first birthday on 21 June.
Clare Matterson, Wellcome Trust Director for Medicine, Society and History, commented: "When we embarked on this project, we did wonder 'will anyone come?'. 12 months in and with visitor numbers being what we they are, we are extremely thankful to all who have stopped in on our premises on Euston Road. We won't become complacent for the next year, as we must continually reinvent our programming to make it fresh, relevant and appealing."
The new venue, which is a cross between an art gallery and science museum, is run by the UK's largest charity, the Wellcome Trust. Wellcome Collection was one of only four venues shortlisted for this year's prestigious Art Fund Prize, a national award given to a public venue whose project demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence.
Wellcome Collection's lively programme of challenging exhibitions and events - ranging from 'The Heart' and 'Sleeping & Dreaming' exhibitions to the portrait photography of 'Life Before Death', through to debates, performances and late-night events on topics as broad as organ donation, live open-heart surgery, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome and stem cell research - have captured the imagination of many and met with wide-reaching critical attention from national and international media.
The £30 million visitor attraction was opened by Stephen Fry in June 2007. Wellcome Collection is a world first. It combines three contemporary galleries together with the world-famous Wellcome Library, a public events forum, a café , a bookshop, the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre and a members' club, to provide visitors with radical insights into the human condition and to explore the connections between art and science.
In celebration of Wellcome Collection's first birthday, the building will host a series of events between 11.00 and 16.00 on Saturday 21 June. Highlights include: taster tours, a chance to see the 'From Atoms to Patterns' exhibition, origami workshops, Gandini Juggling, music from DiscQuartet, film highlights from our first year, raffle tickets and an hourly draw. The event is free and open to the public to drop in at any time as part of the summer season of events.
Wellcome Collection's exhibitions and events programme will continue to intrigue and entertain over the coming months. From 23 July, 26 skeletons from the Museum of London's vast collection of 17 000 will go on display in 'Skeletons: London's buried bones', an exhibition that uncovers 2000 years of the city's history. 'From Atoms to Patterns: Crystal structure designs from the 1951 Festival of Britain' will continue until 10 August.
'War & Medicine' is the third major special exhibition at Wellcome Collection and, following 'Sleeping & Dreaming', the second devised in collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden. Running between 21 November 2008 and 15 February 2009, the exhibition will assess the impact and influence that warfare and medicine have had on one another. It looks at the way humanity's desire to repair and heal has tried to keep pace with its capacity to maim and kill, meeting sometimes with success and at other times with failure.
Mike Findlay, Wellcome Trust Media Office
T +44 (0)20 7611 8612
Notes for editors
The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending over £ 500 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.
Our former headquarters, the Wellcome Building on London's Euston Road, has been redesigned by Hopkins Architects to become a new £ 30 million public venue. Free to all, Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The building comprises three galleries, a public events space, the Wellcome Library, a café , a bookshop, conference facilities and a members' club.