This family-friendly exhibition explored how Hetty Feather has brought the history of the Foundling Hospital to life.

Since the first Hetty Feather book was published in 2008, Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s series of novels has delighted young audiences with the adventures of its eponymous heroine, the spirited Victorian foundling Hetty Feather. Selling millions of copies, the books have led to an Olivier Award-nominated stage show and BAFTA-nominated CBBC television series. For her Foundling Fellowship at the Museum, Wilson researched the history of the Foundling Hospital and developed the character of Hetty Feather, a girl who uses imaginative storytelling or, as she calls it, ‘picturing’ to deal with life’s challenges.

Picturing Hetty Feather explored the ways in which writers, directors and designers have used historical evidence and factual gaps to bring the nineteenth-century Foundling Hospital to life. Visitors could find out about the real history of the Hospital, discover how it inspired Dame Jacqueline Wilson to create the character of Hetty, and explore how Hetty’s story has come to life as a stage show and television series. On display were props and original costumes from the CBBC Hetty Feather television set, alongside unseen treasures from the Foundling Hospital Collection and archive. Visitors could try on costumes made for the CBBC production and use their imagination in a range of interactive activities.

This immersive exhibition transported visitors of all ages to the Foundling Hospital, encouraging them to discover their own ‘picturing’ abilities in relation to the Foundling Hospital story, and imagine what life was like for Hetty and the real-life foundling children. 

a must for Hetty fans, but also visitors of all ages who are interested in the history of this period
Time Out