Medicine Man: the Forgotten Museum of Henry Wellcome
- By: Julia Sarginson
This exhibition is about a man who, from humble beginnings as a farmer's son in the American mid-west, became one of this countries foremost medical men despite never being a practising doctor. Henry Wellcome trained as a pharmacist and became a household name when he launched the pharmaceutical company Burroughs Wellcome and Company in London in 1880. On the death of his partner, Silas Burroughs, in 1895, Wellcome became the sole owner and used his rapidly increasing wealth to fund his passion for collecting and penchant for travel.
Wellcome “saw the entire compass of human culture through medical eyes” and his vast enthralling collections reflect this. He became famous for hoarding all things related to health. Wellcome often sent employees to bid at auctions because he knew that his name would raise the price.
One of Wellcome's most famous contributions to British medicine was the medicine in the form of