Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge became Patron of the Foundling Museum in March 2019. The royal patronage was announced ahead of the Duchess’ visit to the Museum on 19 March, when she learnt more about our pioneering programmes, particularly Tracing Our Tales - a training programme for care-experienced young adults - and creative projects with young psychiatric in-patients.
The patronage recognises the Museum's unique work to transform the wellbeing and life chances of vulnerable children and young adults, through creative collaboration with artists. Drawing on our landmark history, we seek to improve the skills, confidence and joy in life of young people at society’s margins.
During her visit, the Duchess met a group of young people who had completed the Museum’s Tracing Our Tales training programme, which gives young care-leavers the skills to run creative workshops for visitors to the Museum. The Duchess heard the positive effect the training has had on their self-esteem, mental wellbeing, education, and employment. The Duchess also joined a training session and was shown around the Museum’s exhibition Bedrooms of London by three of the young workshop leaders.
The celebrated poet and Museum Trustee, Lemn Sissay OBE, wrote and recited a commemorative poem to celebrate the patronage. The poem responds to contributions from young people participating in the Museum’s programmes, about their hopes and dreams for the future.
A memory makes time machines of us
Birth is a beginning of time
A memory wakes once it is called
For those who seek to find
Her Royal Highness’ acceptance of the role of Patron followed a previous visit to the Foundling Museum in December 2017, when she met children who had benefited from the Museum’s work on the transplant wards at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and as part of our programme for pre-school children from local nurseries.
The Museum brings its historic story of children in care to life in ways that are meaningful for young people today, by working with outstanding artists from all creative disciplines, including its Foundling Fellows. In doing so, it enables disadvantaged young people to see the world differently and to imagine new possibilities for themselves. In this way, the Museum continues the legacy established by William Hogarth and George Frideric Handel in the 1740s and told in its displays.