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Florence Nightingale Museum forced to close due to COVID-related losses

Museum dedicated to founder of modern nursing shuts ‘for foreseeable future’ as income falls
Picture shows the entrance of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London

Museum dedicated to founder of modern nursing shuts for foreseeable future as income falls

The Florence Nightingale Museum in London is to close due to financial losses after visitor numbers fell amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The museum an independent charity dedicated to the founder of modern nursing relies on visitors for around 95% of its income, and more than half of these are from overseas.

Changes to the museums operation vital to ensure it has a future

It had to close in March 2020 due to the first lockdown but reopened last summer before closing again in November. It now says it must close for the foreseeable

Museum dedicated to founder of modern nursing shuts ‘for foreseeable future’ as income falls

Picture shows the entrance of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London
Picture: Alamy

The Florence Nightingale Museum in London is to close due to financial losses after visitor numbers fell amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The museum – an independent charity dedicated to the founder of modern nursing – relies on visitors for around 95% of its income, and more than half of these are from overseas.

Changes to the museum’s operation ‘vital’ to ensure it has a future

It had to close in March 2020 due to the first lockdown but reopened last summer before closing again in November. It now says it must close ‘for the foreseeable future’ from the end of February, except for special one-off events.

Museum director David Green said: ‘The events of the past year have been devastating for so many. From our own perspective, to go from the furious activity and high visitor numbers of the early months of 2020 to instant desolation was a major blow, especially as this all happened during Florence’s bicentenary year and the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife.’

Picture of David Green, director of the Florence Nightingale Museum
Museum director David Green
Picture: Mark Hakansson

Mr Green said every avenue has been explored to keep the museum open, and donations from visitors and arts organisations as well as the dedication of its staff had helped.

‘Now, changes to the museum’s operation are vital to ensure that it has a future, particularly as the situation is unlikely to improve significantly for many months,’ he said.

A visionary reformer, tireless campaigner and inspirational leader

Opened in 1989, the museum looks beyond the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ image to present a fully rounded picture of Florence Nightingale as a visionary reformer, tireless campaigner and inspirational world leader in her field.

It also celebrates nursing today and throughout history, telling the stories of key figures such as British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman Mary Seacole and Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, the first black nurse to work in the NHS.

The museum, located at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, says it is holding a consultation with staff about a major review and restructuring of its operations, with the aim of protecting its collections and the institution in the long term.


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