London – Museum visitor numbers are slowly rising following a decade-low in 2017. The question being asked of institutions, curators and, increasingly, architects, is how to capture the imagination of visitors in order to provide an inviting and stimulating experience that goes beyond the traditional ‘glass display’ model. London’s Science Museum was one of the most visited government-funded museums in the UK for 2019, but how does WilkinsonEyre’s transformation of the museum’s first floor into the world’s largest medicine galleries get people excited about medicine?
Previously housed in the attic space, the relocated exhibition contains over 3,000 objects selected from the collections of the Science Museum Group and Wellcome (a museum and library focusing on health). The interior fit-out comprises 100 steel-and-glass display cases, designed by the architecture practice, and showcases items such as the first stethoscope, a 1911 pharmacy shopfront and the first MRI scanner. Incorporating artefacts from the size of a fingernail to a walk-in padded cell keeps visitors guessing as they journey through the space.