With its Florence Nightingale exhibition closed to the public due to the current coronavirus lockdown, Derby Museums is making a special collection of content available online to commemorate the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth this year.

Derby Museums closed its doors to the public on 18th March in response to the government’s coronavirus guidelines. Its brand new exhibition, Florence Nightingale: Health in the Home, was due to open at Pickford’s House on the same day, but remains unvisited under lockdown restrictions.

Since then staff at Derby Museums have been busy behind the scenes, creating a special collection of content related to the Florence Nightingale exhibition that will be shared online over the coming months,  starting on Tuesday 12th May – the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

Portrait of Florence Nightingale, stipple engraving by Conrad Cook

An English social reformer and statistician, Florence Nightingale is credited as a founder of modern nursing, and came from a wealthy, reformist Derbyshire family who had a home at Lea Hurst near Matlock.

As well as quotes from the Derbyshire icon herself, the museum will be showcasing new video of the Florence Nightingale exhibition along with interviews from curators, asking the public: What do you do to be well?

Poems created by staff from the University Hospital of Derby and Burton (UHDB) NHS Foundation Trust, together with illustrations from artist Emma Lance, will be shown throughout June as part of the museums’ collaborative project with Air Arts and the UHDB NHS Foundation Trust Library.

An audio discussion about the National Portrait Gallery’s painting – The Mission of Mercy, painted by artist Jerry Barrett in 1857 – will also be made available online shortly. Currently on loan to Derby Museums from the National Portrait Gallery, London as part of the COMING HOME project, the painting portrays Florence Nightingale attending wounded soldiers at Scutari, Turkey, during her time there as a nurse during the Crimean War.

Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums commented:

“Florence Nightingale is an inspirational figure of global importance, whose life and work provide a fascinating insight into the origins of our healthcare system today. On this important anniversary we are proud to celebrate one of our best-known local heroines with our communities. Although our museums are not yet open to the public, this specially curated content will enable people to discover more about Florence from home until they can visit the exhibition in person when lockdown restrictions are lifted.”

Florence Nightingale: Health in the Home will run until spring 2021. The online content will be made available via Derby Museums’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and on the museums’ website. Anyone wishing to contribute their thoughts to the museums’ call out about What do you do to be well?, can get in touch by email.