DAY 5, in which our protagonist sees even more museums. Will she ever tire out? Found out in this next installment!
MUSEUM NERD ALERT:
I saw not one but TWO museums today! For those of you counting that’s four in two days. Am I tired? Yes. Will I continue on my noble quest? Yes. Will you still have to read about my nerdy adventures? Definitely no! Unless you stop reading, which I guess is your loss. Seriously.
I was able to take Pater and Mum (Pater sighting! I repeat a Pater sighting!) to the Charles Dickens Museum after an awesome lunch at an Indian place. Yum! Afterwards, Pater had to go and do other important things so, our trio became a duo. Mum and I ventured to the Foundling Museum.
The Charles Dickens Museum
The Museum is situated in two buildings- with the heritage home recreated in the building he and his family had actually lived in. The other home is now a gift shop, cafe, exhibition space, an elevator and the offices.
The museum has a lot of his original furniture, letters and books. You can really feel his presence and taste. We moved through the dining room and parlour down to the servants area of the kitchen, wine cellar, and scullery. Everything looks as though a proper victorian family has just left for a bit.
There are discreet text panels that are well done and have little hide and seek questions to keep kids and adults occupied. Through the house you learn the story of Dickens, his and his family’s life, along with many of the inspirations for his numerous novels.
Pater quite like the special exhibition of Dickens and Copyright. And mum really enjoyed seeing all the objects in situ.
Pros: Family friendly, well done
Cons: It’s a bit tricky accessibility-wise though there is an elevator. The biggest con for me was that I wanted a bit more- more family stories and relationship to Victorian London. But that could just be cause I am really NOSY.
The Foundling Museum
This museum was really great as well. It was a banner day for this nerd!
The Foundling Museum has been set up in the former Foundling Hospital. The Hospital was set up by naval man Thomas Coram in 1741. It was the first of its kind in England. Women were able to leave their children at the hospital rather than abandoning them in London. Today, the institution continues in the name of Coram.
It’s very cool not only for its social service function but also as an important part of the founding of the modern Art Gallery. William Hogarth, a famous artist and cartoonist- check out his Pilgrim’s Progress if you can- donated works and encouraged his friends to do so as well. In the end, the work was put on display and thus became the first public art gallery. The museum continues the tradition by sponsoring and supporting current artists today.
These items above are tokens that mothers left with their children. If they wanted their kid back the mother would have to describe the little token to verify her identity. Later, they developed a receipt system instead. The kids themselves were renamed and would only learn about their parents if they were reclaimed.
One of the coolest pieces I saw there were these pill bottles. The curator, Emma Middleton, collaborated with kids at the Great Ormond Street Hospital to create “Mead’s Mysterious Medicine Machine” pills that would cure their ailments. It’s both beautiful and incredibly sad.
Pros: A Dosage of history and art both new and used. This museum really connects the history of the place and its intentions with modern concerns. It also full recognizes the issues of penning up children with little supervision and personal identity. Also, the Staff and Volunteers were lovely.
Cons: A lot of the Museum is preoccupied with the art and modern aspect so the Foundling’s personal stories get a bit lost.
BREAKING NEWS: Mum and I found a Chatime for Bubble Tea! Thank the heavens. 🙌