The Foundling Museum
The story of the Foundling Hospital
The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, Britain’s
first home for abandoned children and of three major figures in British
history: its campaigning founder the philanthropist Thomas Coram, the
artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. This
remarkable collection of art, period interiors and social history is
now housed in a restored and refurbished building adjacent to the original
site of the Hospital, opened in 1741 and demolished in 1928.
“In the Picture” exhibition (30 July to 27 September
Disabled children have long been almost invisible in illustrated children’s
literature. “In the Picture” is a pioneering Big Lottery-funded
campaign set up by national disability charity Scope to address this
issue. The result is a vibrant exhibition of works by children’s
book illustrators such as Quentin Blake and Jane Ray, who colourfully
represent young characters with a variety of abilities, and challenge
preconceptions of disability.
The exhibition at the Foundling Museum was accompanied by
displays of creative work by children with disabilities and/or special
educational needs already using communication books and printed symbol
language, which were enhanced by quotes from the pupils produced using
"This was a great opportunity to introduce the museum's visitors
to the concept of symbol communication, which most are unfamiliar with.
It also introduced a new way of interpreting exhibitions in the building
and will become a natural addition to the museum's public interface
- Annette McCartney, Learning & Access Manager
at the Foundling Museum.
The London School for Children with Cerebral Palsy
In June 2009, a group of Key Stage 2 pupils (learning age 7-11 years)
from the London School for Children with Cerebral Palsy visited the
Foundling Museum. As well as visiting the galleries, they touched Victorian
objects from the Museum’s handling collection, and learned about
domestic chores the Foundling Hospital’s pupils had to carry out,
such as handwashing and ironing.
Back at school, each child created a fantastic life-sized self-portrait.
They represented themselves as famous characters from children’s
TV, cartoons and literature. A speechbubble displaying a quote in Widgit
by each young artist was attached to their portraits as an instant way
of giving them a voice and illustrating their unique identities. This
was particularly important as none of the children are able to express
TreeHouse School for autistic children
With the help of artist and photographer Sue Ackon, TreeHouse pupils
visited the Foundling Museum and individually recorded a visual treasure
hunt with digital cameras. The childrens’ images were then used
to create a huge photographic montage, providing visitors with freeze-frame
glimpses of a visit to the Museum as seen through the eyes of young
people with autism. Widgit speechbubbles displaying comments by some
of the pupils on things they saw during their visit were attached around
Widgit museum trail
The Foundling Museum worked with Widgit to produce a symbol-supported
museum trail, which visitors can download from its website or collect
at Reception. The Museum is also advertising the Widgit trail to SEN
teachers in its termly Teacher Newsletter and online.
For further information about the Foundling Museum please visit their
For more information on Widgit's accessible services please contact
Widgit on 01926 333680 or firstname.lastname@example.org