Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Picturing Hetty Feather - The Foundling Museum gets ready for a summer of brilliant events based around Jacqueline Wilson's fabulous books.

The Foundling Museum opens its first ever exhibition devoted to Hetty Feather and the Foundling Hospital this summer and there are tons of family friendly events to look forward to as the exhibition continues. 

Since the first Hetty Feather book was published in 2008, Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s series has delighted young audiences with the adventures of its eponymous heroine, the spirited Victorian foundling Hetty Feather. 

A new family-friendly exhibition, Picturing Hetty Feather, will explore how this much-loved character has brought to life the history of London’s Foundling Hospital, on page, stage and screen. 

Visitors can discover the world of Hetty Feather through television props, rarely-seen archival items
and hands-on activities.

Hetty Feather TV Series. Image © BBC
In 2008, Dame Jacqueline Wilson became one of the Museum’s first Foundling Fellows. For her Fellowship, Wilson researched the Hospital’s history and developed her character Hetty Feather, a girl who uses imaginative storytelling or, as she calls it, ‘picturing’ to deal with life’s challenges. 

Immensely popular with her young audience, Hetty has gone on to feature in five books which have sold millions of copies, the first two of which feature the Foundling Hospital. 

The popularity of the Hetty Feather books has led to an Olivier Award-nominated stage show and BAFTA- nominated CBBC television series.

"Picturing Hetty Feather" will explore 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 for the first time will be key elements of the CBBC’s Hetty Feather television set, including props and original costumes, alongside treasures from the Foundling Hospital Collection and archive, some of which have not been seen before by the public. 

Visitors will be able to try on costumes made for the CBBC production, and try their hand at script writing by creating their own Foundling Hospital character as part of a selection of hands-on activities.

This immersive exhibition will transport visitors 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.

Dame Jacqueline Wilson said: ‘I was proud to be made a Fellow of the Foundling Museum, one of my favourite places in London. The Museum asked me if I’d ever thought of writing a novel about a foundling child. I absolutely loved this idea and almost immediately Hetty Feather sprang to life inside my head. 

There have been five Hetty Feather books so far (watch out for another soon!), a long-running stage play and three television series too. It’s wonderful that Hetty now has her own special exhibition in the very museum that inspired her story.’

Director of the Foundling Museum, Caro Howell, said: ‘History and storytelling are inextricably linked and with Hetty Feather, Jacqueline Wilson brought the nineteenth-century Foundling Hospital to life in a way that is vivid and relatable. By exploring the ways in which curators, writers and art directors tell stories using history’s facts and gaps, we hope to inspire children to do the same.’

The events begin on Tuesday 30th May 2017 with more details of each workshop and event below: 


Tuesday 30 May, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30
Suitable for age 5+

Create your own miniature film set inspired by our exhibition Picturing Hetty Feather, and bring it to life with puppets of your favourite Hetty Feather characters.


Friday 2 June, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30

Suitable for ages 5-10

Taking inspiration from Mr Dolly’s doll shop in the book Clover Moon, make your own Hetty Feather or Clover Moon doll to take home.


Saturday 3 June, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30

Suitable for age 7+

Inspired by the foundling girls’ sewing lessons, create a tippet or apron for Hetty Feather. Try on costumes from the CBBC Hetty Feather series and wear your own newly-made item home.


Saturday 15 July

11:00-16:45, free with Museum entry

Drop in to our free workshops led by artist Isobel Manning. Make a model of Miss Smith’s home for destitute girls from Clover Moon, the Cavalcade music hall from Little Stars, or your very own Tanglefields circus tent from Hetty Feather.


Saturday 15 July

14:00, Tickets £10 adults, £7 under 16s (includes entry to the Museum)

Foundling Fellow Dame Jacqueline Wilson, author of the Hetty Feather series, returns to the Museum to celebrate her well-loved books. Join the author as she reads from Hetty Feather and Clover Moon, and signs books. Advance booking is essential, tickets go on sale online only from 10:00 on Wednesday 31 May. 



Tuesday 25 July, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30

Suitable for age 5+

Responding to the exhibition Picturing Hetty Feather, use traditional bookbinding methods to create Hetty’s journal or Clover’s sketchbook, given to them by Miss Smith. Make marbled paper to cover your notebook in the style of Victorian marbled books.


Friday 28 July, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30

Suitable for age 5+

In this creative writing workshop take on the role of Hetty Feather the writer. Use your imagination to re-write Hetty and her mother Ida’s story.


Wednesday 2 August, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30

Suitable for age 5+

To celebrate national Playday, join us for an immersive family drama workshop. Bring characters and scenes from the Hetty Feather books to life using acting and play.


Tuesday 22 August, 14:00

Tickets £5, £3 concessions & Foundling Friends

Join us for a very special family event. Hear author Dame Jacqueline Wilson talk about the writing of Hetty Feather and from some of the creative people involved in transforming the books into a TV series. Find out how the Foundling Hospital’s story has inspired artists of all kinds, and take the opportunity to ask those burning questions.


Tuesday 29 August, sessions run 10:30-12:00, 13:00-14:30 & 15:00-16:30

Suitable for age 5+

Taking inspiration from Nick Sharratt’s silhouette illustrations in the book Hetty Feather, create a shadow puppet theatre featuring characters from Hetty Feather, Diamond and Clover Moon.

Workshops are free for children and up to two accompanying adults, unless otherwise stated. Museum admission is included, Picturing Hetty Feather £3 for adults. Book on the day.

For a full list of the summer's events, directions and further information please visit the Foundling Museum's website at

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