Today, we were so excited to visit the Florence Nightingale Museum.

In school we have been learning all about her early life, time in the Crimea and her legacy. We have used images to compare the differences between the hospitals before Florence, Nightingale wards and the hospitals that we see today. We have also begun to learn about Mary Seacole and will soon be comparing the work of Florence and Mary.

We travelled by bus through Trafalgar Square, past Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, then went south of the river to the Florence Nightingale Museum which you can find at St Thomas’ Hospital. This is directly opposite Big Ben! We once looked at an image of the Nightingale Nurses which were pictured in this spot. You can see the image here.

When we arrived at the museum, we were met by Florence herself! We spent time taking our coats and yellow jackets off, as we were really lucky that the museum was only open to us!

We went into the museum and sat down in front of Florence, as she began to tell us all about her life. She told us all about her early life, growing up with her sister, Parthenope who she called ‘Pop’. Some of us really impressed Florence as we could actually pronounce Parthenope properly! She reminded us of the fact that her father was so passionate about her learning and always encouraged her to read. We found out that Florence’s family even called her a book worm, which we didn’t think was very nice!

Some of us got to act out certain scenes from Florence’s life, as we took on the role of her father, mother and sister, as she told us that she wanted to be a nurse. Her family first wanted her to go on holiday, in the hopes that she would forget about her dreams to become a nurse! However, she was eventually allowed to have three months of nurse training in Germany and was asked by Sidney Herbert, the Minister of War, to introduce female nurses into the Scutari Hospital during the Crimean War. It was here that Florence made such an impact. As we arrived at Scutari, we were all given roles! Some of us on cleaning duty, some were painting lime wash onto the walls, some people were building the new beds, one of us cooked delicious food, and one of us had to lift the dead horse from the well! Our teachers and adults had to clean the toilets… which were overflowing! Thanks to our cleaning efforts, soldiers were no longer having to lie on the blood-stained floor, surrounded by creatures. We also saw Florence’s lamp, which is called a Fanoos. She explained to us that lots of the paintings and illustrations of Florence were not quite accurate because people in Britain didn’t know what she looked like, nor did they know what her lamp looked like. The Fanoos is actually a Turkish lamp!

After this experience, Florence sent us off on a scavenger hunt around the museum. We had to find so many things! We found her lamp, dresses, medals and even her pet owl! Our teacher isn’t a huge fan of taxidermy so had to avoid this part of the museum! We even had the chance to dress up in lots of different costumes and outfits, from Florence’s dresses, to Crimean soldiers and nurses that we see today.

After our hunt around the museum, we came back to hear about Florence’s legacy, which we know is what she is remembered for. We also focused on the uniform that Florence had her nurses wear, and how we still the influence that this had on today’s uniforms. Nurses will wear hats (or caps), similar to the bonnets worn by Florence and her nurses, they wear a badge (which is now sewn into the material) or lanyard, like the white sash, embellished with the words “Scutari Hospital”.

Finally, we went back to see the Mary Seacole statue outside of the hospital. In our lessons we are going to be thinking about which person is more deserving of a statue here – Florence Nightingale or Mary Seacole. This gives us the opportunity to make historical judgements about what we know about the past. We are so pleased to see that Mary Seacole is also being recognised for her work during the Crimean War too and had our class photo taken here.

We would like to say a huge thank you to the lovely parent volunteers that came with us. We had a really great time and hope that you did too!

What did you learn during our trip to the Florence Nightingale Museum?

8 comments on “Our Trip to the Florence Nightingale Museum!

  1. l Love my school Trip

  2. Florence Y3🤗 says:

    I hope you had fun!

  3. I loved the trip😊

  4. I hope you all had an amazing time at the Florence Nightingale museum.

  5. Harmony y2 says:

    It was very very fun I loved it

  6. Alexandra Y3 🥰😍❤ says:

    I bet you all had an amazing time. I remember my trip last year. It was so FUN!

  7. I loved my school trip. I had lots of fun.

  8. Guerlain says:

    It was great because we got to learn new amazing things and it was so fun because we were learning dressed up.

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