My Week at the Florence Nightingale Museum
For my Year 10 work experience, I spent a week at the Florence Nightingale Museum. Despite the museum being in a central London location, I admit that I didn’t know much about it – I was initially drawn to the historical aspect of the place. However, throughout my short time here I’ve come to realise it’s a wonderful place with many visitors from all over the globe, and it is particularly integral to the nursing community. As well as this, I had never previously considered all the work that goes in to making museums what they are, and on some level I assumed that they just ‘happened’! Thanks to this week, I now understand that behind each museum is a hard-working team (and in this case, a number of sandbags).
I’ve been lucky enough to have had a behind the scenes look at the museum as I’ve been allowed to join meetings, talks, and tours, as well as members of staff being kind enough to show me around themselves. Although the museum is relatively small, there is a lot of information and I’ve seen talks on the Peter Pan exhibition and the history of St Thomas’s hospital, as well as on Florence Nightingale herself. The meetings have also been varied, ranging from finances to planning lates, and even a larger conference at the Wellcome Trust regarding Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary.
I have had the chance to ask questions and learn in detail about everyone’s roles, from retail to education, which has given me an insight into the world of work and how people come to be in the jobs they’re in. The small team here are amazing, and it’s a very relaxed, friendly environment where they were willing to tell me all about what they do.
I have also had some tasks to do, such as making posters for school outreach programmes, updating school databases and helping out with a school party that came in for a session.
I would say my favourite things about the week have been seeing the more hidden parts of the museum, such as the infamous handwashing drawer, talking to all of the team, and seeing the Florence Nightingale performance (not to forget the very picturesque lunch breaks!).
Overall, I’ve had a really great time here and I was made to feel very welcome. I’m sure I’ll visit the museum again in the future, particularly for the quirky sounding beard exhibition.