Nightingale Museum to reopen - partially

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The Florence Nightingale Museum, which it was feared might have been closed permanently because of the Covid-19 lockdown, is to reopen on a limited programme.

Thanks to emergency funding from the Culture Recovery Fund the museum, set in St Thomas’s Hospital on the Thames embankment and dedicated to the mother of modern nursing, will be open on the first Saturday of every month from June 5. It will not reopen fully for the foreseeable future.

“We are extremely pleased to be opening our doors again, if only for a limited time. These will be very special, now rare, opportunities to explore the life of the woman whose name has been used so much over the past year and whose legacy shines through the remarkable work of the health care professionals that have been fighting the pandemic” said the museum’s director, David Green. “Last year our big plans for Florence’s bicentenary were stopped in an instant; we hope you will join us as we begin our comeback.”

The museum relies on visitors for 95% of its income, with half coming from overseas, and was at its busiest in Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary year when it was forced to close.

A special exhibition, Nightingale in 200 Objects, People & Places, which originally opened in March 2020, just 10 days before England entered its first period of lockdown, will be the highlight for the open weekends. The exhibition was created to mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth with items, stories and places that explore the reasons for Florence Nightingale’s fame and enduring influence

Among the exhibits are:
• The world famous lamp (actually a Turkish lantern) carried by Nightingale during the Crimean War (pictured).
• The Scutari Sash designed by Florence – the first nursing uniform.
• Florence Nightingale’s medicine chest, containing glass jars of “domestic” remedies.

• Nightingale’s bad-tempered – now stuffed – pet owl, Athena, which she carried around in her pocket.

Tickets for the open weekends are available from www.florence-nightingale.co.uk. Tickets are also available for a walking tour on May 12th, the first of a series, International Nurses’ Day, marking Nightingale’s 200th birthday, which will follow some of the places she knew, including the Mayfair home where she worked - from her bed - to revolutionise nursing (and which she shared with a total of 60 cats), the shops she visited and the places where she stayed, worked and wrote. The tour will end at the Waterloo Place statue of Nightingale.

It is also now possible to book the museum for groups and school visits.

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