Help a Museum Identify Mystery Artifacts


Can You Help Identify This Museum’s Mystery Artifacts?

by Theresa Machemer/

In 1884, American-born expatriate Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome patented a compact “tabloid” pill designed to deliver standardized doses of medicine. The product, produced by the young entrepreneur’s pharmaceutical company, Burroughs Wellcome & Co., was an instant sensation, making Wellcome a wealthy man. Before his death in 1936, the pharmacist used this fortune to build a vast collection of artifacts and books detailing the history of medicine.

Today, thousands of objects from Wellcome’s trove are housed in the collections of Great Britain’s Science Museum Group (SMG). Many are highly unusual, leaving staff uncertain of their original purpose. Now, curators hoping to unravel these items’ mysteries are seeking the public’s help.

As Nicola Davis reports for the Guardian, the new SMG campaign centers on 10 artifacts selected from a group of 300,000. Researchers started investigating the objects’ origins in 2018, when efforts to move them from the Blythe House in London to a purpose-built facility at the National Collections Center in Wiltshire first began.

“They are likely to be the kind of thing that maybe only one or two people in the world have ever seen before, because that is the kind of thing that [Wellcome] was after, he was after the edges of the human experience,” …read more:

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  1. “They are likely to be the kind of thing that maybe only one or two people in the world have ever seen before,”

    Answers will not be forthcoming, due to problems with historical inaccuracies.

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