Wellcome grant to bring Invisible Worlds to the Eden Project
The Wellcome Trust is awarding £1.9m to the Eden Project in Cornwall to create a permanent, immersive exhibition revealing the inextricable links between the health of humanity and the planet we inhabit.
This significant investment from Wellcome’s Capital Awards scheme will support the creation of ‘Invisible Worlds’ featuring ten new exhibits exploring our relationship to the world around and inside us, from microbiology to the trends affecting our future.
The vast majority of life on earth - 90 per cent - is microscopic. Humans, and the plants and animals we see each day, are the exceptions. The processes that sustain life take place over times and at scales impossible for us to experience.
Gus Grand, Head of Policy at the Eden Project, said “Most museums, zoos and botanic gardens were set up in the Victorian period, when our understanding of the world and our place within it was very different to what it is now. Invisible Worlds is an exhibition for our time, and we’re delighted that this award from Wellcome will enable us to transform the Eden Project, to explore the world that we now know lies beyond our senses.”
In 2015 the Eden Project, supported by the Wellcome Trust, installed an exhibition called ‘Invisible You’ about the human microbiome – the trillions of microbes that live inside us. It captured the public imagination and is one of the most popular exhibitions that Eden has staged. Invisible Worlds will build on this success.
Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society at Wellcome Trust, said “Understanding the links between our health and our planet is critical to our shared future. Through ‘Invisible You’ the Eden Project revealed the fascinating microbial world within each of us, and in Invisible Worlds they will take this innovative approach a step further, creating a compelling and engaging introduction to the interconnectedness of life and the environment at every scale.”
The plan includes a major redevelopment of the ‘Core’, the Eden Project’s education centre. A working laboratory will expand their schools offer, and house demonstrations and debates about new technologies and issues. Visitors will also be able to sign up for citizen science and other research projects.
The refit includes a larger flexible exhibition and events space to provide a South West venue for travelling exhibitions. The cafe kitchen will be opened up and hold cookery demonstrations and classes as well as special events. The exhibits will be integrated with a five-year live programme of activities, events, and experiments.
Refurbishment work begins in May 2017. Invisible Worlds will open in spring 2018.