The Wellcome Collection in London is what I think you would most definitely call a one-off. Its aims are clear from the sign which greets you above the reception.
When I first floated the idea of this for a possible visit with my lovely blogging chum Lovely Grey I have to be honest that I didn't know a great deal about it so had no idea what to expect. It fits in what one might term a "niche" market and is not one for the squeamish as it doesn't shy away from some difficult subject matters, but I found it really stimulating and thought provoking. You are warned that there are body parts on display which many may find disturbing and although I've taken photos for my own personal reference, I have chosen not to put them up here. Instead I've picked a selection which I hope reflects the fantastic experience I had.
There the plain odd. This skeleton had me scratching my head for a moment as I knew something was wrong. but it took a minute to pinpoint exactly what was wrong!
We both had our photos taken in the Spirit Booth. It was believed in the early 19th century that the afterlife could send images through which could be captured to form visual memories which could be captured. It was exposed as a scam, but not before many people had had their groats spirited away for this "spiritual" service I suspect!
Another one of those things which made me look twice....in the 18th century if you had nearly drowned the physician would send the tobacco smoke from one of these up your bottom to revive you. And the theory behind this? Pass....maybe the warmth had some effect....perhaps we should be grateful that this particular medical practice has become obsolete.
The mask on the right is one of those dreadful Scold's Bridles with which women were punished and humiliated and the other one is a Portuguese executioner's mask.
Small things which are poignant. A lock of George III's hair which shows a high level of arsenic. It's now known to exacerbate porphyria which leads to severe mental imbalance and is probably the cause of the King's bouts of madness and the hope for protection from a higher power attached to WWI amulets. The museum has amulets stretching right back over many thousands of years which demonstrates how much the talisman is such a part of the human condition.
To cap it off a bit of light relief..a photo I sneakily snapped of my partner in crime [before she dragged me off to the pub kicking and screaming....we'd only had coffee and cake at this point in the proceedings!] and a humorous note left on one of the kaput displays....very much in keeping with a place which is heavily biased towards all things medical!
As you might expect from thrifty old me this was another gem without an entry charge.