Moving History

I'm curious... are there museums or exhibits that feature the history of Child Placement anywhere?

Is adoption, with authentic original documentation, included in any of this type of exhibit? 

I would think there are lots of adoptees and children of adoptees who would like to know more about the way in which the adoption industry has conducted itself.


bitter-sweet relief

The only place I know that shows the broken-stories of a mother-child is The Heritage museum in NYC.  That has to do with the Holocaust, so the mourning is focused on Jews who suffered during that era.

Child placement and abandonment is bigger than that.  Adoption and abuse is bigger than that.  I can't imagine any one place having a comprehensive collection on the history of adoption, is there?  It would be neat if there was.  I'd like to see what Mother's Homes looked like and orphanages looked like.  I'd like to see what various adoption forms look like.  There's so much crap about us that's not known, it would be neat to see it spelled out and presented in a formal way that could be visited.

My first finds

I did some web searching and came accross a couple of sites.

First of all there is the orphage museum of the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children.

In Bristol, England is the George Müller Orphanage Museum and New Orleans is the home ground of St. Elizabeth's Orphanage Museum. The latter was being restored by author Anne Rice and her family.

According to there is a Korean War Orphanage Museum being created by Rev. Hae Ryang Yoo Kim in Gwangju, Korea.

In Oxford North Carolina a masonic home for children, the Cobb Center at Dunn Cottage has been turned into an archive and museum.

Kansas City houses the strawberry hill museum once known as St. John's Orphanage.

Jægerspris Castle in Denmark is a castle museum that during the early twentieth century housed an orphanage.

In Culumborg, the Netherlands the Elisabeth Weeshuis has been turned into a museum and the Amsterdam Historical Museum is located in the former city orphanage, maintaining a collection of its own history.

The building of the Koninklijke Marechausee Museum (Royal Military Police Museum) was up until the 1950's an orphanage and part of the Museum has recently been devoted to it's original purpose.

In Antwerp, Belgium, the former girls orphanage, Het Maagenhuis, has been made into a museum, dedicated to the history of child care.

I hope i will be able to find more, cause I really like the idea of creating a tour around the history of child-placement.

The Foundling Museum, London

Only museum I know of in the UK is the Foundling Museum (mostly concerned with the children looked after by Thomas Coram's Foundling Hospital

Don't know how accurate it is in its depiction of how things were

Don't know anything much else open to the public

There are some university archive / library collections of documents, University of Liverpool has various National Children's Home archives, as I remember posting about it elsewhere I see if I can find it again. And of course the National Archive will have lots, but it's matter of finding it amongst everything else there. Liverpool also has Liverpool Sheltering Homes archives and has (or had) a lot of Barnardos stuff, Barnardo's also has its own extensive archive and museum at Barkingside not sure if it's open to the public at all. The London Metropolitan Archive has the old records of child placement by the old London Boroughs

The information from my own childhood file make interesting and sad reading and will have to be published one day

Robin Harritt if anyone wants to contact me about any of that


Innocenti - Florence

There is also the Innocenti in Florence - the first large orphanage with a Safe Haven. A place to abandon children, which had at times 80% mortality...


From 31 March to 31 July 2007, at the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence, an exhibition will relate the history of the ancient hospital and the care provided for children between the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries.

On 31 March "The Children's Renaissance – The Innocenti and care of children between the 15th and 16th Centuries" was inaugurated at the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence.

The exhibition is dedicated to the girls and boys who lived at the Innocenti Institute in the 15th and 16th centuries and tells of their daily lives in the building that the Silk Guild commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi to design, for the purpose of taking in abandoned children...

The building is hosting now several child related organisations:

Unicef Innocenti Research Center

Instituto degli Innocenti - an organisation linked to the Italian Adoption Committee and which calls themselves a European reference framework and it is an enthusiastic promotor of intercountry adoption:


Pound Pup Legacy