Monday, September 29, 2008

The Wellcome Collection

Idle hands are the work of the devil. Ask any parent.

If you find yourself in London this winter, either as a resident or a visitor, a great way to entertain your children without entry fees or crowds is to head for the Wellcome Collection on the Euston Road.

The Wellcome Collection is a museum about the human condition as seen through the prism of medicine, the body and art. Well, that’s how grown-ups see it. Children will see it as a very cool place to look at weird and wonderful stuff such as artificial limbs, fake eyeballs, diagnostic dolls, amputation saws and male anti-masturbation devices.

This treasure trove of artefacts once belonged to Henry Wellcome, a boy from America’s Wild West who ended his days as a great philanthropist and knight of the British Empire. The museum also brings medicine forward since the time of Henry Wellcome’s death in 1936, with galleries that focus on current issues such as genomes, new ways at looking at our bodies and modern maladies such as obesity.

There are frequent special exhibitions, and a free Young Explorers Pack which helps children engage in the experience. The Wellcome Library, including 2.5 million books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures on the history of medicine, serves as a great reminder to our kids that there is more to human understanding than can be found by a quick search on Google.

From a NoCrowds perspective, this place is a real winner. Particularly on the weekends, when the Science and Natural History Museums in South Kensington are heaving and unbearably crowded, the Wellcome Collection, by contrast, offers a superb experience for families where you have the peace and space to enjoy it. It’s easy to get there, being just around the corner from the Euston Station, and there is a pleasant cafĂ© if your brood becomes peckish as well as a gift shop for the ubiquitous, “If you behave, I’ll get you a nice treat at the gift shop.”

Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Raod
Tel: 0207 611 2222

Galleries open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00. Sunday at 11:00. Library closed on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of the Wellcome Collection webite.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I'll have to remember it for next time I'm in London. It looks interesting.