The Foundling Museum

Exterior of the Foundling Museum
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Study area icon Wheelchair access icon

The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery.

Established in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram, and continuing today as the children’s charity Coram, the Hospital was set up as an institution ‘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. Through a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events, we celebrate their vision and the ways in which artists and children have inspired each other for over 275 years.

Discover the intriguing story behind this important London institution and the children who grew up there, alongside original period interiors, poignant artefacts and inspiring art. Pick up a unique, artist-designed souvenir in our Shop, or relax in our Café, offering a delicious selection of teas, coffees, cakes and light lunches.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 - 17.00
Sunday, 11.00 - 17.00
Monday closed

Admission charges

£8.25* Adults
£5.50* Concessions

FREE Children (U16), Foundling Friends

An additional nominal charge applies for exhibitions (FREE for children & Foundling Friends)

*Ticket prices include a voluntary Gift Aid donation


  • International Council of Museums
  • National Trust
  • National Art Pass
Getting there

Rail: Euston, St Pancras, King’s Cross (10 mins walk)

Tube: Russell Square (2 mins walk), King’s Cross, St Pancras

Bus: 59, 68, 91, 168, 188 to Southampton Row or Russell Square

17 (not evenings), 45, 46 to Gray’s Inn Road

10, 18, 30, 73 to Euston Road; 19, 38, 55, 243 to Theobalds Road

Additional info

At the Museum you can see:
* Poignant social history gallery telling the story of London's first home for abandoned children, including personal histories, artefacts, photographs and recordings;
* London's first art gallery featuring works by Hogarth, Rysbrack, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Roubiliac, Hudson, Ramsay and Wilson;
* Fine eighteenth-century, Rococo and Georgian interiors; and
* Gerald Cook Handel collection of Handel memorabilia.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Music, Personalities, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • London's first children's home
  • Rococo interior
  • Georgian interior
  • Coram
  • Hogarth
  • Rysbrack
  • Gainsborough
  • Reynolds
  • Roubiliac
  • Hudson
  • Ramsay
  • Wilson
  • Handel
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Installation view

So That They May Be Usefull to Themselves

  • 15 November 2016 — 7 May 2017 *on now

This display in the Introductory Gallery, explores the Foundling Hospital’s work with disabled children.

The Foundling Hospital was ground-breaking in its approach to access, as shown by the education and care it gave to disabled children in its custody. In some cases this led to lifelong support, even into old age. Curated by the Museum’s volunteers, this in-focus display explores their treatment of disability at the Foundling Hospital in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, alongside stories of former pupils.


Children rehearsing for the Jungle Book at Sewickley Academy, Pittsburgh, USA

Child's Play

  • 3 February — 30 April 2017 *on now

Artist Mark Neville has travelled the world photographing children at play in diverse environments, immersing himself in communities from Port Glasgow to North London, and the war zones of Afghanistan and Ukraine. Despite the often harsh environments, the photographs reveal children’s determination to play. Bringing these together in an exhibition of photographs, a book and a symposium, Child's Play seeks to generate debate around this complex subject and advocate for improved provision for children’s play (which is recognised by the UN as a universal right). This exhibition is particularly timely – in the UK traditional public space is being privatised and globally up to 13 million children have been displaced as a result of armed conflict. The exhibition reinforces our responsibility to ensure that children the world over have full opportunity for play and recreation.The exhibition contains both existing and new work not seen by the public before. On display are new photographs of internally displaced children in Ukraine; residents of Kakuma, Kenya’s second largest refugee camp; and depictions of children at play in London adventure playgrounds, all made especially for this project.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£10.25 Adults, £7.50 concessions, £6.25 National Trust members, £2 Art Fund members, FREE children (U16), Foundling Friends
*Ticket prices include a voluntary Gift Aid donation


Emma Brownlow, The Foundling Restored to its Mother, 1858 © Coram in the care of The Foundling Museum, featuring illustration of Hetty Feather © Nick Sharratt

Picturing Hetty Feather

  • 26 May — 3 September 2017

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 explores the ways in which curators, writers, directors and designers have used historical evidence and factual gaps to bring the nineteenth-century Foundling Hospital to life. On display will be props and original costumes from the CBBC Hetty Feather television set, alongside unseen treasures from the Foundling Hospital Collection and archive. Visitors will be able to try on costumes made for the CBBC production and take part in a range of interactive activities.

This immersive exhibition will transport visitors of all ages to the Foundling Hospital, inviting 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.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • 11-13
  • 16-17
  • 5-6
  • 18+
  • 14-15
  • 7-10


Free for children (U16)
Adults £10.25 (£9.50 without Gift Aid)
Concessions £7.50 (£7 without Gift Aid)


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Family Fun

Children, young people and families are able to explore The Foundling Museum through Trail of the Month, audio trails, story books, creative drop-in sessions and special events. In term time, sessions are held monthly on the first Saturday 13.00-16.00, and during holidays on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10.30-12.30 and 14.00-16.00. Activities are generally suited to children aged 3-12 years.

How to obtain

Arrive early to ensure you get a place. Check the website for full details of events.

Getting there

Rail: Euston, St Pancras, King’s Cross (10 mins walk)

Tube: Russell Square (2 mins walk), King’s Cross, St Pancras

Bus: 59, 68, 91, 168, 188 to Southampton Row or Russell Square

17 (not evenings), 45, 46 to Gray’s Inn Road

10, 18, 30, 73 to Euston Road; 19, 38, 55, 243 to Theobalds Road

The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square
Greater London




020 7841 3600

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.