We work extensively with contemporary artists, writers and musicians, commissioning new work, hosting residencies, staging exhibitions and initiating projects


On display until 31 July 2016

Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital’s dialysis wards created a collaborative animation, inspired by the Foundling Hospital’s history of medical innovation and Great Ormond Street’s ground-breaking transplant processes. Working with animator Shelly Wain, the children used their own experiences to create an animation that describes the process of dialysis through to a kidney transplant. The film was displayed in the Museum's Introductory Gallery or you can watch the animation here.


Mead's Mysterious Medicines

On display until 31 July 2016

Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital's bone marrow transplant and dialysis wards have created animations and medicine bottles inspired by the eighteenth century medical recipes of the Foundling Hospital Governor, Dr Richard Mead. Working with Foundling Museum curator and artist Emma Middleton, and animator Shelly Wain, the children compared the medicines of the past to the present, before inventing their own imaginary medicine using ingredients that addressed their personal experiences of treatment. Se the works in our Introductory Gallery or watch the animation here.


Wall of Wishes

On display until 31 July 2016

Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital have created a wall of wishes. The display was developed as part of a new partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital’s arts programme Go Create!. Inspired by the cockades and tokens that mothers left with their babies when they were admitted to the Foundling Hospital, children created rosettes with their own message of hope or wish for their future. You can see the display in our Introductory Gallery.

Design Explorations: Dolls' Houses

2 February - 3 April 2016

BA Interior & Spatial Design students from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, created dolls’ houses for imaginary pupils of the Foundling Hospital. Children came to live at the Foundling Hospital at the age of five, having spent their early years with a foster family. Inspired by their lack of toys, a traditional home life and a loving family, the dolls’ houses were displayed on the seventeenth-century refectory table in the Museum's Committee Room.


3 November 2015 - 31 January 2016

First year BA Jewellery Design students from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, made jewellery and art in response to the story of the Foundling Hospital, their pieces linked to an object or element of the Hospital’s story. The items covered a range of materials with an equally diverse number of processes. In a first for the Museum, four students were carefully selected to sell their items of jewellery in our Shop.

Foundling Stories

2 November - 31 December 2015

BA Illustration & Visual Media students from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, made objects in response to the story of the Foundling Hospital and the Museum’s Collection. Their work formed a hand-printed book, displayed in the Museum's Ante Room.




Contemporary Stories of Life in Care

On display

QR Codes are positioned on selected artworks around the Museum. Scan them using your smartphone to hear the voices of young people in care today talking about issues in their life. These stories have been themed, sitting alongside the story of the foundlings at the Hospital, and explore life in social care past and present.


Finding Yourself

18 November 2015 - 31 January 2016

In summer 2015, a group of young people aged 15-17 took part in Holborn Community Association's youth film-making project in partnership with the Museum and 1A Arts. Attending scriptwriting, film-making and editing workshops with professional film-makers, the group created a short documentary on the theme of identity, inspired by the Museum’s Collection. This project was funded by BBC Children in Need. 


On display

This installation was made in response to the Foundling Hospital school uniforms and young people's experiences of being labelled as a 'child in care' at school. Created by care leavers from Westminster and Ealing with curator and artist Emma Middleton, shirt labels record sentences that teachers and parents said to them during their school life. The installation can be seen in the Museum's Introductory Gallery.

Superman was a Foundling

On display

Award-winning poet and playwright, and 2014 Foundling Fellow, Lemn Sissay MBE has created Superman was a Foundling. Sissay has created a striking visual exploration of fostering and adoption in popular culture through a mural which adorns the Museum Café walls. Sissay's project aims to reveal and elevate fictional stars of popular and classic culture who were fostered, adopted and orphaned. Names range from characters from the foundation myth of Ancient Rome to Steig Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Dawn Chorus

Audible throughout the Museum

Renowned natural history sound recordist and 2014 Handel Foundling Fellow, Chris Watson, worked with young care-leavers recording the sounds of the dawn chorus on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. Inspired by the genetic link today’s birds have with those that sang here for the eighteenth and nineteenth century foundlings, Watson’s installation links past and present through a poetic meditation on the importance of place. Listen out for the sound of birdsong as you wander through the Museum.


Until April 2016

Pavilion, collaborative artist duo Sophie Yetton and Gabriel Birch, have been awarded this year’s artist research residency.The Foundling Museum Residency is funded by Artquest and creates an opportunity for a visual artist or group of artists to engage with our collections and curators, by undertaking a period of research at the Museum. It is designed to develop artistic practice and potentially lead to a new body of work. Pavilion will be presenting their work during an event on 22 April - book tickets here.


February 2015 - February 2016

The Museum's inaugural Composer-in-Residence, Luke Styles, led composition and music-making workshops with Year 6 children from Argyle Primary School and with pre-school children from Thomas Coram Nursery. Styles integrated the new music composed and performed in these workshops into a new work, a twenty-first century response to Handel's Foundling Hospital Anthem. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.


Early Years


The Museum runs weekly art and music workshops with children and their parents from Thomas Coram Nursery. These artist-led sessions allow children to experiment and explore through a variety of art activities, from sculpture and instrument making, to drawing and painting. Supported by funds from the Eranda Foundation.


Bach to Baby


These classical concerts for babies and their families were set up by mother and pianist Miaomiao Yu. Performed by Miaomiao and other internationally-renowned musicians, concerts at the Museum are inspired by Handel and take place in the beautiful Picture Gallery. Click here for the latest Bach to Baby performances