The Museum tells how Coram was created as the Foundling Hospital in 1739 as a home for abandoned children. The Hospital benefitted from the patronage and support of artists including William Hogarth, George Frideric Handel and Charles Dickens.
Twomey’s installation is inspired by the acts of exchange and philanthropy which lie at the heart of the Foundling’s history.
Each day ten visitors to the ‘Exchange: 1,000 Good Deeds’ exhibition are invited to choose a teacup inscribed with a good deed. If they agree to carry it out they can keep the cup.
There are over 1,000 cups and saucers in total, inscribed with deeds that range from the everyday (“smile more”) to the more challenging (“sign up for a charity 5k run”).
Fitness enthusiasts can also check out Coram’s events page for more energetic good deeds!
Twomey says the cups and saucers act as a reminder of the “warmth and generosity” in the Foundling’s history. “Visitors have to think about the sacrifice they will make and what they are prepared to do in this exchange,” she said.
Ideas for the good deeds were suggested by former Foundling pupils and celebrity supporters including actress Gillian Anderson and journalist Jon Snow, schools, community groups and charities.
Visitors have been sharing news of their good deeds on Twitter under the hashtag #exchangegooddeeds. “My good deed of today was I helped an old lady on the moving train to her seat and carried her bags,” said Melany. “Looking forward to doing my good deed: talking 2 elderly person sitting alone in a cafe,” said Joy.
Those who cannot visit the exhibition in person can suggest and accept good deeds by clicking on one of 10,000 digital teacups here.
The exhibition runs until 15 September 2013; entry is free with admission to the museum
The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ; online at www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk