Press release

Wellcome awards £10m funding for new Science Museum Medicine Galleries

The Wellcome Trust has given the Science Museum in London £10 million for its landmark new Medicine Galleries. The £24m project will create a magnificent new home for the world-renowned medical collections.

Based on the collections of Sir Henry Wellcome and the Science Museum, the new Medicine Galleries will house over 2,000 objects. They will highlight the best of the most significant medicine collection in the world. 

The galleries will reveal personal stories about the transformational power of medicine. They will also provide historical context for our experience of medicine and health today. 

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, said: “The generous support of the Wellcome Trust will help us realise our ambitious plans to create the world’s greatest Medicine Galleries. Bringing together the fascinating medical collections of Sir Henry Wellcome, on permanent loan to the Science Museum since 1976, and our own rich medical collections, these galleries will become a global centre for the public understanding of health and medicine.”

The new galleries will cover more than 3000m2 on the museum’s first floor. This almost doubles the area of the existing Medicine Galleries and will position medicine at the centre of the museum. The designers are Wilkinson Eyre Architects.

Dr Emily Scott-Dearing, Lead Curator of the Medicine Galleries, said: “Our medicine collection documents moments of great medical insight and innovation, major public health challenges and moving patient experiences from the past. It also speaks powerfully to the medical challenges of today and tomorrow, from antibiotic resistance to the obesity epidemic. Ours is a living, growing collection and alongside historic objects the new galleries will showcase our latest acquisitions from the leading edge of clinical medicine and biomedical research.”  

Simon Chaplin, Wellcome’s Director of Culture and Society, said: “Wellcome and the Science Museum have worked together closely for over three decades to create innovative galleries and programmes that engage audiences of all ages with the stories of health and medicine, past and present. The new Medicine Galleries will create one of the world’s largest permanent spaces devoted to the place of health in human culture. We are delighted to be the lead funder for this exciting project.”

As well as the £10m Wellcome grant, the Medicine Galleries have been made possible by an £8m award from the Heritage Lottery Fund and further support from The Wolfson Foundation. 

The galleries will be free to visit. They’re scheduled to open in 2019.