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Wellcome Library
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Wellcome Library
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183 Euston Road
London
United Kingdom

gstecyk's picture

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The Wellcome Library describes itself as a “free visitor destination for the incurably curious.”

With one of the world’s most eclectic and nonsensical collections of oddities, it prides itself on having been assembled to no purpose in particular.  This Edwardian landmark in central London, conveniently located adjacent Euston Square Station, is a sort of combination library, art gallery, and museum of…well, just about everything.

The collection was founded by Sir Henry Wellcome, an American-born rags-to-riches pharmaceutical giant, and reflects his lifelong interest in alchemy. But it’d be a gross oversimplification to call Wellcome a museum of medicine, as it also features over 250,000 works of fine art, in addition to religious paraphernalia, instruments of witchcraft, midwifery, anthropology, morbid curiosities and other ephemera that is generally weird and obscure.  Also called the “Phantom Museum,” this is the library where people in horror movies go to track down the spiritualist academic who specializes in the cryptic and occult.

Those of us not in a horror movie must content ourselves with free admission Monday through Saturday, free Wi-Fi, a trendy café, study rooms, art exhibits, and collection of 2 million documents dating back to Ancient Egypt.  Personal photography is encouraged in the permanent exhibitions and the collection is viewable online 24/7 for those who don’t live in the London Area, or really need to know in the middle of the night how demons were exorcised in ancient Phoenicia.

People worldwide can visit the Wellcome Library blog, with articles on timely issues like gender identity in the history of medicine.  Geographically disadvantaged fans can also enjoy Wellcome’s publications.  From no other publishing house in the world will you find titles like High Society and Mind Altering Drugs, Dirt: the filthy reality of everyday life, and the succintly descriptive Death.  So whether you’re surfing the web from home, or in the London area, drop by the Wellcome Library. True to its name, all sorts are welcome here.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library is founded on the collection formed by Sir Henry Wellcome (1853–1936), whose personal wealth allowed him to create one of the most ambitious collections of the 20th century. Henry Wellcome's interest was the history of medicine in a broad sense and included subjects such as alchemy or witchcraft, but also anthropology and ethnography. Since Henry Wellcome’s death in 1936, the Wellcome Trust has been responsible for maintaining the Library's collection and funding its acquisitions. The library is free and open to the public.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Wellcome Library.