Medicine Man: The Forgotten Museum of Henry Wellcome
The British Museum London, United Kingdom 2002–2003
Client: The British Museum
Held in the temporary galleries of the British Museum, Medicine Man was the first exhibition to show the enormous range and depth of the medical collections of Sir Henry Wellcome, which comprised more than a million objects at the time of his death. The exhibition highlighted the material legacy of Henry Wellcome and explored the ways different cultures have approached medicine and health throughout history.
The aim of the exhibition design was to tell the stories held within the artefacts, and convey the themes, complexity, and scale of the collection. Objects were gathered into simple large vitrines, each exemplifying a conceptual approach to classification and interpretation that conveyed the idea of the museum and collecting itself. The vitrines, densely installed, were placed close together and were strongly spot lit within a darkened room, to give the experience of standing amongst a constellation of objects. Elsewhere, seated visitors could use headphones to listen to detailed narratives and histories of individual pieces.
London, United Kingdom
The British Museum
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John