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The Foundling Museum

#215 of 1,558 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood:
Bloomsbury
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Address: 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ, England
Phone Number:
+44 20 7841 3600
Website
Sunday
Closed
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Hours:
Sun 11:00 - 17:00
Tue - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Description:

The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the...

The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery, and through a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped improve children’s lives for over 275 years.

The Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram, was established in 1739 by the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram, as ‘a hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children’. Instrumental in helping Coram realise his vision were the artist William Hogarth, who encouraged leading artists of the day to donate work, and the composer George Frideric Handel, who gave annual benefit concerts of his Messiah. In doing so, they created London’s first public art gallery and their creative generosity set the template for the ways in which the arts can support philanthropy. The Foundling Museum celebrates their vision and continues their work by enabling artists, musicians and writers to work alongside vulnerable young people and cast new light on the histories we tell.

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US$74.87*
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Foundling Museum holds an extraordinary story

Foundling Museum holds an extraordinary story of how children born out of wedlock in the past centuries were given a chance. Of course these days we see it with different eyes but... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Ole_and_Yvonne
,
London, United Kingdom
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312 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 303: English reviews
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Foundling Museum holds an extraordinary story of how children born out of wedlock in the past centuries were given a chance. Of course these days we see it with different eyes but then when the Foundling Hospital Charity was created is was a real chance for many. Even Händel, Hogarth and Dickens supported the charity and wer even board members.... More 

Helpful?
Thank Ole_and_Yvonne
Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
534 reviews
143 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is an incredible museum that recreates the story of family lives over three centuries and children who had to be given up to institutional care. The added bonus is its art collection (linked to its history) and the Handel collection (also linked to its history). Enough said -- it needs to be discovered and experienced. For me the most... More 

Helpful?
Thank rh24
Enfield, UK
Level Contributor
91 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

My wife and I went as I had seen ads for it in Russell Square station. We paid the entrance plus £2 to see the extra exhibitions. I would recommend anyone to start in the Introductory area to the right of the entrance, which gives the background to the foundation and has some very relevant objects. Maybe the most moving... More 

Helpful?
Thank Alan C
Level Contributor
48 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We tried to get here on our trip to London in 2016 but ran out of time. 2017 and we got there and well worth the wait. I was amazed at how old the charity was and how many people it has saved. It only took us about 1.5 hours but worth it.

Helpful?
Thank Mark G
Royal Wootton Bassett, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
406 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The museum tells the story of children who could no longer be cared for my their parents. It also tells the story of the founder and stories of those who made it happen. It is a very well maintained museum with very friendly staff. Although it is a museum about children, I am not sure how much younger children would... More 

Helpful?
Thank Matt J
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The museum tells the story of what happened to the lucky few children who were deposited at the Foundling hospital by mothers who could not afford to keep them. Set up by a kindly philanthropist Thomas Corram with support from important musicians and artists of the time. Downstairs the 'Child'support Play' exhibition of contemporary photos from around the world showed... More 

Helpful?
Thank TABS1066
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

A very interesting museum, thoughtful exhibits telling the story of the Foundling Hospital. Knowledgeable, friendly and helpful staff and volunteers. A small museum with a lovely cafe, serving home made cakes and snacks.

Helpful?
1 Thank sue e e
Lancashire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I want here at the behest of my other half who had been desperate to see this museum for a long time. And boy it was worth it. This is history that isn't discussed very often. It is divided into four floors, but one was closed due to refurbishment. The ground floor was centred on the foundlings and their history.... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Ingvar I
Whitehaven, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

There is a cloakroom where you can leave bags and coats. There are three floors you can visit. The exhibits are modern and up to date, with interactive exhibits for children (dressing up, things to read, a humorous video and chairs where you can listen to the music of Handel). Staff within were very friendly and knowledgeable-this is why I... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Niall56
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
492 reviews
249 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We found this museum interesting and although it is creation in part of the original building it has an interesting history. The AV at the start is worth siting through. I loved the tokens left my the parents, and some had stories behind them.

Helpful?
Thank Wraxall_Travellers

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Staying in Bloomsbury

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Bloomsbury
Snuggly nestled within Central London is academic and leafy Bloomsbury, an area that boasts walking distance access to many of London's most popular attractions. It is also home to some of Britain's most celebrated museums, including the must-see British Museum. Despite an understandable popularity with students, tourists and day trippers, vast sections of Bloomsbury retain a quiet, residential feel year round and throughout the week.
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