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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Florence and the war machine

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 19 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2595
  1. Colin Martin, independent consultant in healthcare communication, London
  1. cmpubrel{at}

    A clever revamp of an established museum about Florence Nightingale should switch a new generation on to the nurse’s supreme contribution to modern health care, finds Colin Martin

    “The name of Florence Nightingale lives in the memory of the world by virtue of the lurid and heroic adventure of the Crimea. Had she died—as she nearly did—upon her return to England, her reputation would hardly have been different; her legend would have come down to us almost as we know it today—that gentle vision of female virtue which first took shape before the eyes of the sick soldiers at Scutari,” wrote Lytton Strachey in his iconoclastic biography Eminent Victorians (1918).

    The Florence Nightingale Museum in London reopened this month, the 190th anniversary of her birth in 1820. Located at St Thomas’s Hospital, its exhibition area has been cleverly reconfigured by the Amsterdam based design practice Kossman.dejong. The three phases of Florence’s life are presented in new “pavilions,” inspired by her innovatory hospital design, in which cross ventilated wards were housed in separate buildings linked by corridors. …

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