The Science Museum

+ Project Information

In 2000, I was commissioned by The Science Museum in London to produce a body of work for their newly opened ‘Who Am I?’ Biomedical Gallery. This gallery was produced to explain contemporary developments in bio-medical science and themes included the discovery of DNA, the science of sex selection and the development of contemporary neuroscience. I focussed on children’s reactions to these themes and displays and in response produced a series of portraits based on the themes explored in the gallery. One of these pieces – Lifestyle affects Appearance – is permanently displayed in the Who am I? Gallery. A decade later this gallery was extensively remodelled. In response to the rapid changes in the field of biomedical sciences in the intervening decade, many of the display cases had to be completely revised and updated.¹

¹ Retrieved: June 2015 http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/smap/collection_index/wendy_mcmurdo_lifestyle_affects_appearance.aspx
‘In October 2000, Wendy McMurdo was commissioned as part of an artist residency to explore the relationship between new technologies and early learning. Her past work has focused on looking at ways in which rapid developments in science have affected the ways in which we picture and describe ourselves. During her residency, McMurdo spent a number of days observing and photographing children visiting and exploring the Who am I? gallery. How children learn and behave in museums formed the central theme for Lifestyle Affects Appearance, which shows a girl that appears to have been startled from deep thought when Wendy photographed her peering into one of the Who am I? display cases. What did she discover that makes her look so uncertain? Perhaps she was considering how her own physical identity could be affected by rapid developments in biomedical science.’