Reading Room

Our Reading Room is unlike any other. An innovative hybrid of gallery, library and events space, it's designed to encourage you to indulge your curiosity and explore more than ever before.

Completely open to the public it has over a thousand books and 100 objects available to browse and discover – including contemporary sculptures, paintings, medical artefacts and manuscripts. We like to see the room as an open invitation to dig a little deeper into what it means to be human.

There are 10 different sections to the room: Alchemy, Food, Travel, Body, Breath, Face, Pain, Mind, Lives and Faith, each with their own collections of objects, fiction, non-fiction and interactive activities. Settle down with a book on a comfy sofa, contemplate life or strike up a conversation with a stranger. You may even chance upon a Reading Room event (find out what's happening this week on the noticeboard at the entrance) or find a shared interest within our public-led programme, Open Platform.

Located on level 2, the Reading Room is open during gallery hours. Just come whenever you have a moment – drop in to find new inspiration, spark connections and leave feeling thoroughly reinvigorated.

Reading Room Companion


A compendium of inspiring and intriguing insights from Wellcome Collection and the Wellcome Library.


Digital story

Explore a century of madness, murder and mental healing in our six-part digital story.

Wellcome Library gallery

Image gallery

Explore and download a selection of the Wellcome Library works featured in the Reading Room.

Reading Room events

Be it a poetry reading and discussion, a drawing activity, or time spent with an expert speaker, these informal events for small groups can provide an unexpected interlude during the day. They’re advertised in-house on the day, so be sure to check if there’s something going on when you visit.

Do you have an idea for a small participatory event that you would like to hold in our Reading Room?