Florence the Woman

Athena the Owl, 1854

Display No. 101

Nightingale rescued Athena the owl when the was visited the Acropolis in Greece. Athena was being tormented by a group of boys when Florence intervened. She kept her as a pet and named the owl after the Greek goddess of wisdom.

Athena became Florence’s constant companion, and liked to sit on her shoulder or in her pocket. Florence was very upset when Athena died in 1854, writing “poor little beastie, it was odd how much I loved you”.

Florence Nightingale Museum Collection.

Exhibits from ‘Florence the Woman’

Discover the 200 Exhibits

Nightingale is respected worldwide for her pioneering role in developing the nursing profession, her statistical work, and her evidence-based approach to healthcare. In honour of her bicentenary the World Health Organisation have named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In our special exhibition, you will find out about objects, people and places which tell interesting stories about Florence’s life and legacy. You’ll discover artefacts from her life, people she both inspired and challenged, and places she helped to shape. There’s many more insights too!

Please click on the different sections of her famous coxcomb diagram to explore various aspects of her life and legacy. We hope you enjoy exploring!