The Moving Image and Sound Collection is the largest audio-visual collection of 20th-century healthcare and medicine in Europe aimed at anyone interested in the evolution of medicine and health over the past 100 years. There are now over 800 titles, 100s of hours of film, video and audio, which have been transferred and are freely available under Creative Commons licences for non-commercial projects.
Part of Wellcome Collection, the Wellcome Library provides insight and information to anyone seeking to understand medicine and its role in society, past and present. We are one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history and contemporary biomedical information resources relating to consumer health, popular science, biomedical ethics and the public understanding of science.
215 Euston Road
Phone: 0207 611 8766
Access: Video and audio cassettes can be accessed either in the Wellcome Library, on request, or by appointment in the offices of the Moving Image and Sound Collection on the Euston Road. Facilities for access to 16mm films, audio CDs and quarter-inch audiotapes are currently available by appointment only in the offices of the Moving Image and Sound Collection.
MISC pro-actively seeks content relating to the Wellcome Trust's five key strategic challenges (genetics/genomics, the brain, infectious disease, ageing and health/the environment). Preference will be given to any original material in good condition and collections or items where all copyright is given to the Wellcome Library. Consideration will be given to processing time and cost (manageable within departmental resources) and although most moving image and sound materials are deposited without accompanying paperwork, any collections which are broadly within our remit and are exceptionally well documented or where an institution or an individual can assist with the smooth integration of the physical items and intellectual data, will be considered.
Archive films are key documents from the twentieth century and can provide windows to the past. By watching the medical films of the 1920s and 1930s we are truly watching the medical pioneers of yesteryear. Many of the historical films were made for professional audiences at a time when there was little faith in people understanding healthcare decisions which were rarely made in their presence. At the time the films were made, distribution would have been limited, but thanks to the internet, they can now be viewed by many more people than were originally anticipated. A real gem is Acute encephalitis lethargica from 1925, which is about a post influenza-type condition resulting in extreme sleepiness, neurological abnormality or even death and resulted in a pandemic which lasted from 1916-1927. The resulting 'sleepy sickness' was popularised in the writer and neurologist Oliver Sack's book and 1990 film, Awakenings. The original film from 1925 showing a case study with this condition has been viewed more than 70,000 times on YouTube. In Wellcome Collection, films, videos and audio frequently feature in the exhibitions and there are many ways in which the digitised collections can be accessed; from the Wellcome Library catalogue: http://library.wellcome.ac.uk/wellcomefilm.htm; from our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/WellcomeFilm; the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/details/wellcomefilm; or JISC Mediahub (for educational institutions) http://jiscmediahub.ac.uk/explore/collection.
Angela Saward, Curator Moving Image and Sound