The museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, England's first hospital for abandoned children, founded by Thomas Coram in 1739. It houses a fine collection of paintings by artists including Gainsborough, Reynolds, Hogarth and Hudson. Also on display are eighteenth-century interiors preserved from the original hospital, a copy of Handel's 'Messiah' and a collection of Handel memorabilia collected by Gerald Coke. The composer was involved in fundraising for the hospital during his lifetime – in 1750 he donated the chapel organ and from that year onwards the 'Messiah' was performed under his direction on an annual basis for the Hospital's benefit. Family trails and children's activity backpacks are available at the reception desk.
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