Florence Nightingale Museum
The Florence Nightingale Museum is dedicated to one of the most influential women of Victorian Britain who inspired so many people who have followed in her footsteps.
A legend in her own lifetime, Florence Nightingale was much more than simply `the lady with the lamp'. This fascinating museum follows this eminent Victorian from her privileged but unfulfilled upper-class childhood to the bloodshed of the Crimean War and the energetic campaigning for health reform that occupied the rest of her life.
The imaginatively presented displays are divided into three main areas, each with a strong visual identity — a thick evergreen 'hedge' encircles the exhibits recounting Florence's stuffy upbringing while the area devoted to the Crimean War is swathed in bandages and traditional Turkish tiles. Florence's later 'letter-writing' years are explored within an enclosure of bookcases and bureaux.
Peepholes offer additional glimpses into Victorian life, and touchscreen interactive displays introduce interesting 'Crimea characters' including nurses who worked alongside Florence. Witty, intelligent, shrewd and single-minded, this ministering angel didn't mind putting a few backs up to achieve her goals.
The museum reveals a complex, driven woman, who as a young girl overcame her family's objections to train as a nurse, persuaded the British government to send her to the Crimea and in later life founded the first school for nurses, here at St Thomas's. Florence's compassion for her patients was underpinned by a flair for admin, considerable mathematical ability and a fondness for statistics - Miss Nightingale should be remembered as much for her pie charts as for her lamp.
Exhibits include the famous lamp, the well-stocked medicine chest that Florence Nightingale took to Turkey as well as the mortal remains of her pet owl Athena, and Jimmy, the pet tortoise at Scutari Hospital. Nurses' uniforms, original letters and a Victorian amputation kit are also among the artefacts on show. The Florence Nightingale Museum runs an events programme as well as hosting temporary exhibitions on nursing themes.
A selection of affordable souvenirs and books are available at the shop, and refreshments are served on the hospital site.