The director of the Florence Nightingale Museum said the fight to reopen after the pandemic has been an “emotional roller coaster”.
The London museum celebrating the most famous figure in nursing history reopens on May 12.
It marks the 202nd anniversary of her birth and International Nurses Day.
David Green said it had been a “long and tiring time” fighting to save the legacy of Florence Nightingale, who became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” during the Crimean War because she spent the whole night chasing after British soldiers would see.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s been a real emotional rollercoaster ride.
“For me I’ve certainly never worked so hard in my life, especially in the first few weeks after we closed, it was just so strange.
“We had to accept the fact that this market, as a central London location that is very dependent on international tourists, had ultimately collapsed.
“But as the leading nursing museum in Europe, it also means that we attract a lot of nursing staff and they were obviously so busy with the pandemic that they didn’t visit us.
video of the day
“Then the real work started with fundraising to keep the place going, even with grant applications, that’s hard work, there’s no guarantee of success.
“I think we have a real sense of accomplishment that we pulled it out of the bag, we managed to keep it going.
“We’ve been closed for a while, but I’m happy to say we’ve fought back and are reopening on May 12.”
The museum, which opened in 1989 and is located on the grounds of St. Thomas’ Hospital, will be open five days a week.
“We want to try, and on Florence’s 202nd birthday, what better time to do it.
“It’s celebrated around the world as International Nurses Day, so literally every country in the world will honor their nurses on the day.
“The entire legacy of a professional nursing career rests on what Florence Nightingale started in the Crimean War. So in the end it’s a big day for the profession.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to actually celebrate nursing by reopening the museum, which fits well into the tourist calendar,” added Mr Green.
The Florence Nightingale Museum, an independent charity, had begun celebrating the 200th anniversary of her birth when the pandemic hit in March 2020.
200th anniversary celebrations that had been in the works for years had to be shelved but are now resuming, including the Nightingale In 200 Objects, People And Place exhibition.
Highlights include the “lamp,” actually the Turkish lantern, that she carried during the Crimean War, her medicine cabinet with jars of home-made remedies, and her writing case.
Mr Green said: “At the time of the forced closure, we were at our busiest in the early stages of the bicentenary celebrations.
“The closure has held us up and has been immensely costly, and the extended lockdown has put the museum at risk.
“We are now on firmer feet and very excited to reopen our doors, this time hopefully for good.”
New features at the museum include a celebration of Nightingale’s legacy in statistics with Sir David Spiegelhalter and her admission to the Statistical Society of London, marking its first female member in 1858.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/florence-nightingale-museum-to-reopen-on-international-nurses-day-41569051.html The Florence Nightingale Museum reopens on International Nursing Day