History of the collection

The Florence Nightingale Museum collection is made up of almost 3000 artefacts relating to the life, work and legacy of Florence Nightingale.

Most artefacts in the Florence Nightingale Museum collection were acquired by Dame Alicia Lloyd-Still during her time as Matron of St Thomas’ Hospital in 1913-1937. This collection was held by the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ and was known as the ‘Nightingalia’.

The collection was first publicly displayed for the centenary of the Crimean War in 1954 at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, then again on the centenary of the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1960, and the 150th anniversary of Florence’s birth in 1970. The collection was transferred into the care of the newly created Florence Nightingale Museum Trust in 1983, who then went on to open the museum on the site of the original Nightingale Training School in 1989.

Since the museum opened, a number of important objects have been added to the collection, including Athena, Florence Nightingale’s beloved pet owl in 2004 and a set of ten oil paintings by French artist Victor Tardieu, which depict a field hospital during the First World War.

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Men in the Nursing Team (1973)

Produced to interest school-leavers of both sexes in nursing as a career, this film shows how male and female nurses work as a team. This video was made from material preserved by the BFI National Archive.