Florence back from the brink

3 July 2020

London’s famed Florence Nightingale Museum has announced that it will re-open to the public on August 1, 2020, after months of fears over its future.

Under new arrangements in keeping with the current COVID situation, the Nursing Times reports that visitors to the museum will be given a no-nonsense lesson in handwashing and hygiene on arrival by “Florence Nightingale” (one of the museum’s actors).

The museum said that it will continue to tell the story of the “mother of modern nursing and the people following in her footsteps” at a time when the “value of nurses has never been clearer”.

At the time of the COVID-forced closure on March 17, the museum was at its busiest and in the early stages of a planned year of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

The sudden loss of revenue threatened the very future of the charity-run attraction, which faced permanent closure. A subsequent auction and around £30,000 ($AU54,000) in donations have helped to keep the museum afloat.

According to the Nursing Times, items on show include the lamp carried by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, the Scutari Sash designed by Florence – representing the first nursing uniform – and her stuffed pet owl.

Other exhibits include her medicine chest, containing glass jars of “domestic” remedies for upset stomachs or diarrhoea, plus a tiny set of scales and measures, and a beaker for measuring liquids.