The Wellcome Collection, an intellectual shelter
Its grey big pillars look like a courthouse entrance, but it is its large window displays that bring attention. Walking along the building, a mix of lights, colours and odd shapes in these window displays finally makes you realise you are more tickled by curiosity than you have thought.
Free entrance, it is written, for 2 permanent and 3 temporary exhibitions, so I automatically take the stairs, in the coffee cups jingling sound and small talks of the ground floor buzzing café, eager to discover what these 2 floors can really offer.
Surprised I am, so are visitors. Looking, touching, reading, feeling, listening, even smelling, the particularity of this medicine, art and nature museum is its capacity of awakening all your senses. You can be surprised by a stuffed fox hidden under a showcase in the « Making Nature » exhibition, or by this 3 meters long wall on which Coastes and Sommer have written all your craziest questions you can ask about your life, from « Do you itch? » to « Do you eat people? ».
The Reading Room reveals, in front of the Wellcome kitchen.
This is undoubtedly a remote room, destined to inspire and indulge curiosity, where fellow readers find shelter. At the end of a long day, a dozen of people was standing there. Some are wandering around the room on the softness of the thick red carpet that you can feel under your feet. Some are quietly focused on a book. But a handful of lucky others were nesting in the majestic giant soft fabric made blue pillows arranged on the stairs.
In this odd and unexpected atmosphere, you can either feel yourself in a modern reinvented museum where a Photo Booth machine analyses your brain reminding of the Science Museum, either in a diversified travel and medicine library of an early 20th century English teahouse, with the ancient architecture of Albert and Victoria Museum.
Open every day, and easy to reach both by bus and tube, the Wellcome Collection has pretty much to offer for a good afternoon; travel books, afternoon tea, goodies to shop and some ancient medicine experiment to discover.
WHERE: 183 Euston Road, London
HOW: Euston Square Underground Station / Euston Square bus stop P