10 days after the Florence Nightingale Museum opened its Nightingale in 200 Objects, People & Places exhibition, the country went into lockdown. Now, after more than two years shut, the Waterloo museum is reopening — with the exhibition rebooted.
Nightingale in 200 Objects, People & Places reveals personal treasures that belonged to the trailblazing nurse/social reformer/statistician, and shows how her brave, pioneering spirit has been remembered and built on in the 200 years since her birth.
Among the items on display from 12 May is the medicine chest Nightingale took with her to the Crimean War, and the lamp she carried when tending to soldiers there (famously she was dubbed 'the Lady with the Lamp'); Nightingale's once-irascible-now-stuffed pet owl Athena; her personal copy of Oliver Twist (Dickens was a personal friend of Nightingale's); a Florence Nightingale Barbie doll; and her cameo in the Assassin's Creed Syndicate video game. (The latter is incontrovertible proof that Nightingale's legacy continues to resonate.)
Elsewhere in the museum — which is located by St Thomas' Hospital and the statue of another medical hero, Mary Seacole — is an updated Crimean War display, featuring a model of the Russian carriage used by Nightingale during the war; a new map installation tracing her journey to the war; and her entry certificate into the Statistical Society of London (Nightingale was, after all, a leading statistician and used this skill to report on and learn from conditions of medical care in the Crimean War, to death rates of the British Army in India).
A family activity trail, meanwhile, encourages kids to get stuck into science, technology, engineering and maths teasers, which are linked to museum objects.
Florence Nightingale Museum, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7EW. Entry £10 adults/£6 under 16s. Includes entry to exhibition.