Objects gifted or loaned by members of the public to the Wellcome Collection for their project Things:

“I wanted to make a very different looking Barbie. I was pleased with how it turned out but I didn’t want to display it in my house, so I’m pleased to find a home for it. The Clipper lighters are my friends idea and I like the look of them. I made the oil burner I want to share it.”

“This hat belonged to my father – a film cameraman who travelled the world through his work. Each badge represents one of his jobs so there’s quite a story to it.”

“If I see a photograph album in a charity shop or house clearance I feel compelled to give it a home. I don’t know the people, there’s no personal connection, but a symbolic one – to somehow relocate lost moments and past memories.”

“These are two objects made by my husband at different periods of his life. The box he made while he was well and the pot, he made whilst in the grip of motor neurone disease. I love them both, of course. Maybe the disease was liberating.”

mounted marten

“I was wondering what to do with this. It was a gift at one time.”


Things to live with, things to dream with, things to think with, things to work with, things to play with, things to tell stories with.

Tools, souvenirs, mementos, keepsakes, heirlooms, curiosities, rarities, knick-knacks, trinkets, bibelots, paraphernalia, collectibles, artworks, artefacts, trophies, fetishes, toys, gifts, relics, treasures, offerings, gadgets.

Tristan Tzara, When Things Dream, 1934:

…Submarine views, stones of clouds, flights of sharks by waves of applause, retinas of veils, auroras of crustaceans in glass, tables of direction, watches of lightning, crumpled papers that trouble the stars and the thousand feathers of resentment, all that which awakens tenderness out of all reason, unstable flames, sisters of love…, from childhood until death do you people this ocean which you accompany with your supreme silence… Things to touch, to eat, to crunch, to apply to the eye, to the skin, to press, to lick, to break, to grind, things to lie, to flee from, to honor, things cold or hot, feminine or masculine, things of day or night which absorb through your pores the greater part of our life, that which expresses itself unnoticed, that which matters because it does not know itself…

Click here to see more objects from the Wellcome Collection’s Thing exhibition.

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