The Florence Nightingale Museum is a museum in London, England. This venue is dedicated to the life and work of Florence Nightingale, who made important contributions to nursing and health care during the 19th century. Nightingale was known as the "Lady with the Lamp," due to her frequent night rounds during the Crimean War. In addition to the main Florence Nightingale Museum, travelers may also wish to visit Claydon House, a separate London institution that houses a collection of Nightingale artifacts and memorabilia.
In 1982, the city of London opened the Florence Nightingale Museum along the South Bank of the River Thames. The museum is part of St. Thomas' Hospital, though it has its own separate entrance and staff. It sits opposite the famous Houses of Parliament, making it a convenient stop for London tourists. The facility is open to the public seven days a week, and guests pay a small admission fee. The Florence Nightingale Museum also houses an extensive resource center for scholars and visiting academics who need to access original sources about Nightingale or the nursing field.
During its early years, the museum was arranged along a timeline centered around Florence's life and work. During the early 21st century, the museum was shut down so staff could complete a major renovation. The museum reopened in May 2010, exactly 100 years after Nightingale's death in 1910. The renovation cost approximately $3,000,000 US Dollars (USD), and brought major changes to the exhibits within. The goal of this renovation was to improve the visitor experience, and create exhibits that would appeal to a wider audience, including children.
As guests enter the Florence Nightingale Museum, they are given free stethoscopes, which act as speakers during self-guided audio tours. Visitors plug the stethoscope into specially-marked hot spots within the museum to hear details about Nightingale's life. Groups can also arrange for guided tours, which are led by a costumed hostess dressed in period clothing that a nurse in the 19th century would have worn. Many of the new exhibits are interactive, and some feature touchscreens or short films.
The Florence Nightingale Museum is divided into three main exhibit areas. The first is known as the "Gilded Cage," and shows visitors what Nightingale's life was like as a young woman during the Victorian era. The second is titled "The Calling," and describes her work during the Crimean War. Finally, the "Reform and Inspire" area shows visitors how Florence started a nursing college after the war, and helped to revolutionize the medical profession.