Holmes Wood: Science Museum, Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

Honourable Mention: Design, Installations and Exhibitions

The new Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries at the Science Museum in London is 3,000m² in size and comprises five permanent collection galleries: Medicine and Bodies; Medicine and Communities; Medicine and Treatments; Exploring Medicine; and Faith, Hope and Fear. The galleries hold more than 3,000 medical objects, many of which are on display for the first time.

Holmes Wood was asked to design the interpretation and environmental graphics that would bring these objects and the story of medicine to life, enabling a complex story to be told in an accessible and engaging manner to visitors of all ages. The graphics needed to withstand the rigours of a busy gallery environment that would have a longevity of 25 years, and reflect the quality and attention to detail of their surroundings.

Holmes Wood’s graphics established a clear information hierarchy to create a strong narrative thread through each gallery. A limited colour palette of venous blood red and bone was selected to enhance the galleries’ themes. The environmental graphics aim to provide moments of surprise and intrigue to help explain and animate objects’ stories. They range from large-scale X-ray images to stitched quotes into the fabric of the case-back, and an installation of 1928 prop cigarettes, mounted end-on, to create a super-sized, smoking ban era ‘no smoking’ symbol.


Design: Holmes Wood
Architect: WilkinsonEyre Architects