The Foundling Museum in central London has been given until September to secure its long term future as launches a fundraising appeal.

The Museum has already raised over £3.6m from over 20 supporters, but it needs an additional £1 million to hit the £4.6 million total needed. This is because much of the museum’s collection is on loan and the agreement to look after the collection will expire in 2027, unless they secure the long term custodianship of the collection.

The reason is a bit complicated.

The Foundling Hospital was set up by Thomas Coram in 1739 to look after orphaned children, and as part of the wide financial support it received, it was often given works of art to be displayed in its home.

In 1954 it was renamed the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children (Coram), and then in 1998, they decided to set up a separate charity, the Foundling Museum to show off the art collection. The two signed an agreement in 2002, under which Coram lent the pictures to the museum, while allowing it to raise money to buy them over a 25-year period. The museum then opened to the public in 2004, and has been running regular exhibitions and events ever since.

It wasn’t always without problems, and there was an almighty row in 2013 between the two charities about how the museum was being run, but that was eventually settled in 2014 when the museum’s long term independence was secured.

However, with the 2027 deadline for the museum’s loan drawing ever nearer, they’ve launched a fundraising campaign to secure the collection’s future.

The fundraising appeal will enable the museum to secure the custodianship of the Foundling Hospital Collection for another 999 years, which is in effect to own the collection in all but name. The museum says that it has until September 2023 to raise the funds or this opportunity will be lost.

The details of the fundraising campaign are here.


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