Death hangs heavy this January and things are about to get darker still. The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is plunging into the murky waters of assisted dying with its exhibition Death: Is it Your Right to Choose? (23 January-13 March). The installation re-creates a room from Dignitas, the Swiss organisation that helps people with severe and terminal illnesses to end their life. The room will be surrounded by displays on the topic of assisted dying, including personal testimonies.
Laura Pye, the head of culture at Bristol City Council, hopes that the exhibition will encourage debate around end-of-life choices, particularly at a time when UK legislation on assisted dying is being reconsidered. The curator Lisa Graves says: “Some people may feel that assisted dying is not a subject a museum should be concerning itself with. I disagree. I think a museum is exactly the right place.”
The installation runs alongside the museum’s show Death: the Human Experience (until 13 March), which brings together hundreds of objects from a variety of cultures and periods to consider human mortality. The show has attracted more than 36,000 visitors since it opened in October 2015.