The Foundling Hospital was formed in the mid-eighteenth century to accept and care for abandoned infants in London and educate them as they grew older.
The Museum’s exhibits tell of the collaborative efforts of Thomas Coram, William Hogarth, and George Frideric Handel in establishing the Hospital; they also explore the role of this pioneering philanthropic institution in founding the first public art gallery in London to support social causes.
The composer Handel was a governor and benefactor of the Hospital, whose annual performances of Messiah were vital sources of income. The Museum holds the internationally important Gerald Coke Handel Collection, material relating to Handel and his contemporaries. It consists of manuscripts, printed books and music, libretti, paintings and engravings, memorabilia, art works, and ephemera. Handel’s will is amongst its treasures.
The Gerald Coke Handel Collection was awarded the 2012 Excellence Award for Music Libraries by the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) in May of that year. The award celebrates the Collection's good works, from supporting research to providing scores for choral and orchestral societies.
- The Foundling Museum
Jestico + Whiles
Time Out London, "The Best Secret Museums"
Gulbenkian Award, London Finalist
Museums + Heritage Awards, Permanent Exhibition Commendation
International Association of Music Libraries, Exellence Award for Music Libraries, The Gerald Coke Handel Collection
The Civic Trust Award: UK Artchitectural and Environmental Design