Jon Crispin's Notebook

The Foundling Museum

Posted in Art, Asylums, History by joncrispin on 15/10/2014

Early on in the suitcase project, people started sending me links to the Foundling Museum in London.  Some saw an emotional connection between my project and the amazing stories that are a part of the museum’s collection.  I was really flattered.  This past Friday I finally got the chance to stop by and visit.  It is really difficult to describe in words the impact of the exhibits, and of the building itself.

This is one of many tokens that mothers or fathers left behind to identify their children should they ever return to claim their abandoned child.  It was a simple, but effective system.  So much history here, and I would encourage going to their site to read about what an incredible institution Thomas Coram envisioned and successfully started.

I thought a lot about charity, art, and how brilliant Coram was in bringing in creative people to support the hospital.  Both William Hogarth and George Frideric Handel were governors, and donated time and energy to the idea of saving abandoned children.  The museum still utilizes this model in their temporary gallery space.  I was really bummed to have just missed a Grayson Perry exhibit.  (If you have a few hours to spare, please listen to this.)

Sometimes art can really have an impact.

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