Foundlings and fabrics

If you’re interested in women’s history and you fancy a visit to a museum in London, may I recommend the Foundling Museum’s current temporary exhibition, Threads of Feeling. You’ll have to hurry to see it in person, as it’s only on until 6 March 2011. But you can also view Threads of Feeling online exhibition.

Foundling Museum Threads of Feeling

The subject matter, pieces of fabric left by mothers who were leaving their children at the Foundling Hospital in the mid-18th century (explained in this Guardian article), is not my subject or period of research at all. However I went to a talk by the curator, John Styles, and found it fascinating to learn about how the fabrics can be studied to shed new light on the lives of ordinary women of the period, on consumer culture and the industrial revolution. I went away resolving not to be so hidebound by my own research interests that I forget to learn about other aspects of women’s history. I think as a PhD student with limited time I can get tunnel vision sometimes, I wonder if others feel like that.

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