Get involved

An invitation to Indigenous communities

Photograph of several sheets of hand written letters and a typed letter laid out on a white table top in a careful and considered manner. A pair of hands are visible in the bottom left and right corners of the image, the right hand resting on the table, the left hand holding a pencil, writing in a lined notepad.
Wellcome Historical Medical Museum in the Viewing Room at Wellcome Collection, Photo: Kathleen Arundell. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

We are committed to taking a respectful and open approach to collections we hold and to ensuring that the cultural meaning and context of these collections is reflected in how we develop, manage and present them.

We know that there are items in the collections that may be of particular value and importance to Indigenous, First Nations, Native American, Aboriginal and other marginalised local communities who have been excluded and written out of the record through colonial processes of documentation and record-keeping.

We support the Local Contexts initiative, an online platform enabling reciprocal curation workflows for Indigenous collections. Local Contexts provides a suite of community-driven tools and labels for building Indigenous knowledge into the public historical record and for recognising Indigenous cultural authority over how such collections are shared, accessed and used.

We are using the Local Contexts’ ‘Open to Collaborate’ notice as a first step towards building relationships of trust and collaboration with Indigenous communities. This work also contributes towards our broader efforts to address the colonial roots of our collections and to create sustainable, equitable partnerships with stakeholder communities.

Wellcome Collection is committed to the development of new modes of collaboration, engagement, and partnership for the care and stewardship of past and future heritage collections.

As our work in this area develops, we plan to highlight under-researched collections material, and specific items that may be of interest to Indigenous communities in our catalogue by assigning the ‘Attribution Incomplete’ notice:

Collections and items in Wellcome Collection have incomplete, inaccurate, and/or missing attribution. We are using this notice to clearly identify this material so that it can be updated, or corrected by communities of origin. Wellcome Collection is committed to collaboration and partnerships to address this problem of incorrect or missing attribution.

If you know of (or think there may be) items among the collections here of relevance to your community, we actively encourage you to get in touch.

Collections Information Team