November 2013

Foundling Museum Cafe closed until Spring/Summer 2014.

The Museum is undertaking an exciting refurbishment project in the Introductory Gallery. While the builders and curators work, this room is our Temporary Introductory Gallery. The new Introductory Gallery will open in March 2014. During the refurbishment project, we regret that the Foundling Museum Cafe is closed. 


March 2013

The Foundling Museum needs 1,000 Good Deeds!

The Foundling Museum are seeking the submission of good deeds to form part of their summer exhibition, Exchange, by ceramicist Clare Twomey.

The exhibition is inspired by the acts of exchange and charity implicit in the Foundling Hospital story, and aims to encourage encourage positive behaviour and empower individuals to do a little good within their community.

We are collecting your ideas to help form the artwork that will consist of over 1,000 cups and saucers. On the base of each cup and on the matching saucer will be a request to undertake a ‘good deed’. 10 visitors each day will be allowed to take a cup, but only if they agree to do the good deed.

This is your chance to help: can you think of a good deed for a cup, to form one of the 1,000 points of exchange?

Return your good deed to: #gooddeed

February 2013

Help bring Gavin Turk and a Magic Flying Carpet to the Foundling Museum!

The Foundling Museum has been shortlisted as a venue for the hotly-contested Museums at Night Connect10 competition. We are in the running to win, sculptor and installation artist Gavin Turk for a special event at the Foundling. But we need your votes to realise this exciting collaboration!

We would like Gavin Turk to create a giant Magic Flying Carpet and storytelling experience that transports visitors back into the eighteenth century and the story of the Foundling Hospital, Britain’s first home for abandoned children and England’s first public art gallery.

The weaving of tales and creation of stories is inspired by the Foundling Hospital school pupils’ tradition of sewing and the Museum’s collection of tokens. Tokens, small everyday objects and textiles were left by mothers with their babies at the Foundling Hospital, as a means of identification, should the mother ever return to reclaim her child.

Visitors, young and old, will be invited to collaborate in weaving together a Magic Flying Carpet of stories that explore their individual and collective identity. This exploration of identity and authorship is integral to Turk’s work. In a backdrop of light, sound and sensory experiences, the Magic Flying Carpet will be placed in the Museum’s stunning eighteenth-century Picture Gallery. Through an atmosphere of magic, imagination and possibility Gavin Turk will direct visitors through an evening of fantastical storytelling charting a mystical journey through time and history.

Please vote for the Foundling Museum by clicking here. (Voting closes 17.00 Tuesday 5 March 2013).

This online public vote also offers voters the chance to win tickets to the Magic Flying Carpet event, which will take place between 16 – 18 May 2013! Help us get more votes by sharing this link and asking your friends to vote for the Foundling Museum!
Twitter: @FoundlingMuseum #matn2013
Facebook: Foundling Museum


Foundling girls sewing, early twentieth century © Coram, Artist Gavin Turk, 2012 © Gavin Turk, Foundling Hospital Tokens © Coram

Supported by Arts Council England, Museums at Night and Connect 10. The Connect10 competition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Sculptor and installation artist Gavin Turk rose to prominence as one of the infamous Young British Artists - he'll be appearing at one lucky venue from four. Eighteenth-century Hospital the Foundling Museum in London, the history-hopping Time Machine Funtington in Chichester, the Egyptology epicentre that is Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the Georgian pleasure grounds of Bath's Holburne Museum all bid for Turk.

Gavin Turk studied at the Royal College of Art and his sculptures and installations investigate artistic myths of authorship, creativity and genius. Since 2008 Turk and his partner Deborah Curtis have run a project-based group of artists called The House of Fairy Tales, designed to further educational community projects to support and advocate art.

Museums at Night is the annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage when hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites open their doors for special evening events. It takes place over the weekend of Thursday 16 - Saturday 18 May 2013.

Culture24 is a non-profit cultural publishing organisation supporting arts and heritage venues to reach audiences across digital platforms. We are the official cultural data provider to the BBC. We collect and share cultural data, publish websites, run the national Museums at Night campaign and lead action research projects.

January 2013

Alex Monroe designs exclusive new jewellery for Fate, Hope & Charity

British Jewellery designer Alex Monroe has designed an exclusive new piece of jewellery to accompany our new exhibition Fate, Hope & Charity. The Foundling Lock Locket is a combination lock with tumblers coded with a hidden message. Alex has also designed a small collection of Tokens, which can be engraved with a personal message.

Visitors are invited to browse the exhibition then to consider creating their own Token. Visitors can choose from a mix of old and new tokens. Upon which, on selected days, Alex and his craftspeople will engrave a special message. The messages will be recorded in a book and posted online as a modern record of tokens. Alex and his team will be at the Foundling Museum, in time for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, to engrave personal messages on:

Saturday 9 February, 11:00 - 15:00 and Saturday 9 March, 11:00 - 15:00.

The Foundling Lock Locket and a selection of Tokens by Alex Monroe are available for sale in the Foundling Museum Shop.

Tho find out more about Alex Monroe click here.

October 2012

Handel’s watch comes to the Foundling!

To mark the launch of our first Clock Watching Weekend, we are displaying a watch that belonged to composer George Frideric Handel. On loan from the British Museum, the watch, typical of German work of the period, was made in 1740. The outer case is inscribed ‘G.F. Handel’. Although it is not mentioned in Handel’s will, the watch is known to have belonged to George Amyand, Handel’s executor. Amyand also owned the copy of Handel’s will exhibited in our second floor Handel Gallery. Both the Will and the watch passed to William Snoxell (ca. 1797-1879) before going to different owners at the sale of Snoxell’s property in 1879. The watch became the property of a Mr Adam, and its subsequent history is unknown until it was donated to the British Museum in 1935 by F.E.A. Mackenzie.

Celebrating all things horological, this weekend is the perfect time to visit Handel’s watch! Marking the end of British Summer Time, we are inviting you take part in clock handling and conservation sessions, clock making family workshops and listen in on expert talks. For more information please click here.

September 2012

Big Issue’s Big London Night Walk comes to the Foundling

For the third year running the Foundling Museum is supporting Big Issue nightwalkers. The Foundling will be a stop off point for walkers on the annual Big London Night Walk.

The Night Walk sees over 600 people take to the streets of London to help The Big Issue vendors on their journey away from homelessness. The 20km route will take in London’s most iconic landmarks and take rest stops at several fascinating buildings. This year the walk takes place on Friday 28 September, beginning at 23:30 at Leadenhall Market. The Night Walk is a chance to bring people from all walks of life together for one night to help raise money to support vendors on their paths to re-building their lives. To find out more please click here.


August 2012

Foundling Museum becomes a National Trust Partner

This autumn the Foundling Museum has joined nine other small museums and historic houses in London to become a National Trust Partner. We and the new London Partners are being given marketing support from the National Trust in return for offering trust members half-price admission to our venues.

The National Trust Partner scheme is being rolled out this month following a successful pilot with Leighton House, which is managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which began in January this year. The other venues taking part are Benjamin Franklin House; Dr Johnson's House; Keats House; Museum of Brands; the Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret; and the Fan Museum.

The National Trust has four million members and 300 properties across the England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but is not responsible for many London venues, particularly when compared with size of the population in the capital. By teaming up with non-trust properties it hopes to offer its members more value for money in London.

We are looking forward to welcoming National Trust members into the Foundling to discover our Collections, displays and exhibitions at a discounted admission.

National Trust members admission £3.75 (£4.25 including Gift Aid), concessions £2.50 (£3 including Gift Aid).

July 2012

The Foundling Museum takes part in Martin Creed’s Work No. 1197

On Friday 27 July at 08:12 the Foundling Museum director Caro Howell and members of staff took part in Work No. 1197:  All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes by Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed.  We joined millions of bells ringing out across the country to celebrate the beginning of the London 2012 Olympic Games.



June 2012

Recent acquistion of a manuscript from Handel's operas Alcine and Ariodante

The Gerald Coke Handel Foundation recently acquired a manuscript of arias and trios from Handel’s operas Alcina and Ariodante, with the help of a generous grant from the Friends of the National Libraries. The manuscript, which was previously unknown, dates from 1735, when both operas were first performed, making it one of the earliest known sources for the works.  The Coke Collection holds portraits of the singers Anna Maria Strada del Po, John Beard and Gustavus Waltz, who took the leading roles in the first performances of both Alcina and Ariodante at the Covent Garden Theatre in 1735.


Images:  Manuscript of arias and trios from Handel’s operas Alcina and Ariodante and John Beard, ca. 1743, oil on canvas by Thomas Hudson © The Gerald Coke Handel Collection

Congratulations to Armando Iannucci, who is honored with an OBE

Writer and contributor to our Dickens & the Foundling display, Armando Iannucci has received an award in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Well known for creating cult comedy The Thick Of It, Armando receives his award for services to broadcasting.

Dickens & the Foundling is a fascinating new display that explores the relationship between Charles Dickens and the Foundling Hospital. Armando is one of six contributors who have selected objects from the Charles Dickens Museum for display in the Foundling Museum. These very personal selections highlight Dickens’ philanthropy, his relationship to the Foundling Hospital and his continuing social relevance.  Other contributors include actress Gillian Anderson and journalist Jon Snow. Click here to find out more.

Museum is runner up in the London Volunteers in Museums Awards 2012

Members of our volunteer team attended the London Volunteers in Museums Awards 2012 in the Museum of London this month. We were runner up in the Going the Extra Mile category, which was won by The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret.

The Awards are organised by the Museum of London Regional Volunteer Management Project. The project supports London museums around volunteer involvement. It has been running for the last four years, providing a range of different initiatives to develop museum’s capacity to involve volunteers. Special congratulations go to The Cinema Museum who won an outstanding achievement award. If you would like to find out more about joining our volunteering team click here.


May 2012

Gerald Coke Handel Collection awarded the 2012 Excellence Award for Music Libraries

At the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) conference recently held in Cardiff, the Gerald Coke Handel Collection was awarded the 2012 Excellence Award for Music Libraries. Collected by Librarian Katharine Hogg, the award highlights and celebrates all the good work that goes on in music libraries from supporting research to providing sets of scores for choral and orchestral societies.

"The Gerald Coke Handel Collection is unique and presents a fine example of how to run a specialist collection not only for the abundant serious scholarly research undertaken there, but in the way it reaches out to the wider user through a variety of means. It’s the largest privately-owned collection of material concerning Handel and its rare, indeed unique, holdings are of major international significance. Research work at the highest level is supported assiduously and exceptional attention is paid to in depth documentation through their developing process of “extreme cataloguing”. Alongside the research focus and avid educational outreach stand a wide range of partnerships with performers and ensembles, exhibitions and publications. The activity in this hugely important national collection deserves warmest congratulation."

New Foundling Museum Trustee

We are delighted to welcome Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller as a new Foundling Museum Trustee. Some of his most iconic works documenting social change were recently exhibited in Joy in People, a major retrospective of Deller's work which was on at the show at the Hayward Gallery, London earlier this year.

Recently, as part of the London 2012 Festival, Jeremy has created Sacrilege, a life-sized inflatable replica of Stonehenge for people to bounce on. Opening in the National Botanic Garden in Carmarthenshire on 21 June 2012 Sacrilege will tour 25 locations across the country throughout the Festival period. Jeremy has also been appointed to represent Britain at next year's Venice Biennale, presenting a solo exhibition at the British Pavilion from June to November 2013.


April 2012

Foundling Back to Front Weekend by Yinka Shonibare MBE


Over the weekend of 31 March & 1 April 2012 the Foundling Museum was turned upside down, taken over by children and young people from across London and transformed into an 18th century fairground!  Children dressed in costume ran the ticket desk, gave guided tours of the world famous Foundling Hospital art collection, provided family fun activities, and performed puppet shows, magic tricks, music recitals and gave lessons to grown-ups in needlework, singing and catechism!

Yinka Shonibare MBE was selected as this year’s Foundling Fellow in the visual arts, awarded in the name of Hogarth, alongside Dame Emma Kirkby as Handel Fellow, and Michael Morpurgo as Coram Fellow
2012. From projects with our Foundling Fellows Richard Wentworth, Damon Albarn, Cerrie Burnell, Julian Lloyd Webber, Grayson Perry and Jacqueline Wilson, to master classes with Emma Kirkby and Jamila Gavin; the Museum celebrates the vision of Coram, Hogarth and Handel and the dynamic relationship that can exist between the arts, child welfare and philanthropy. Photos: Dan Weill.