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Care and trauma: exhibiting histories of philanthropic childcare practices

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claudia Soares


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This paper discusses two current exhibitions that offer new narratives of the history of poverty, childhood and philanthropy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants at the V&A Museum of Childhood and Ragged Children, Mended Lives at The Ragged School Museum, Mile End. Both exhibitions present the history of the development of philanthropic childcare practices that intended to improve the lives of poor children, providing unique insight into the individual experiences of children who passed through emergent childcare systems in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The exhibitions make a significant and impressive contribution to public understandings of children's responses to and experiences of historical welfare practices, and highlight both the positive and negative outcomes of childcare practices. They offer a unique opportunity to reflect on the development of the out-of-home care of children during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the legacies of which continue as resonant issues in child welfare debates today.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Soares C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Historical Geography

Year: 2016

Volume: 52

Issue: 2

Pages: 100-107

Print publication date: 30/04/2016

Online publication date: 05/04/2016

Acceptance date: 29/02/2016

ISSN (print): 0305-7488

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8614


DOI: 10.1016/j.jhg.2016.02.013