"Brains: The mind as matter
," an exhibit running at the Wellcome Collection in London through June 17, seeks to explore humans' impact on the brain -- how it's been studied and regarded over time, for example, and what's been done to it in the name of scientific inquiry and medical intervention.
The free exhibit features more than 150 artifacts, including real brains; manuscripts and illustrations that reflect shifting perceptions of the brain; photos of patients suffering from neurological disorders; surgical film sequences; and an interactive feature that gives visitors a close-up, 360-degree view
of a preserved human male brain.
Pictured is a plaster copy of an 1825 cast from the head of 24-year-old Victoire, who suffered from microcephaly
, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that restricts brain development and leads to a smaller head size than usual.
The cast of the young woman's head came from the collection of the British Phrenological Society, which survived until 1967. Phrenology, the controversial study of cranial shape as an indicator of mental faculties and character, was dismissed by many as a pseudo-science.