Florence Nightingale bicentenary celebrated in virtual exhibitions

The Mission of Mercy Image copyright National Portrait Gallery
Image caption The Mission of Mercy: Florence Nightingale receiving the Wounded at Scutari, is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery

The bicentenary of Florence Nightingale's birth is being marked with two virtual exhibitions.

Both exhibitions, by Derby Museums and the University of Nottingham, have moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Derby one includes an audio discussion of The Mission of Mercy, which is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

The Nottingham one includes a virtual tour of her family home in Derbyshire.

Both exhibitions explore her role as a founder of modern nursing, and her 200th birthday coincides with International Nurses Day.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Florence Nightingale is immortalised as the "lady with the lamp", the Victorian nurse whose efforts transformed nursing

Professor Paul Crawford, one of the people behind the Nottingham exhibition, is a registered nurse himself and has been inspired by her.

"You don't become a nurse without being aware of Florence Nightingale," he said.

"While I was training nurses here at hospitals in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, I also met a colleague who was very interested in her Derbyshire roots and that began to make me realise her contribution.

"I think it's time more was made of her early life in Derbyshire, which is why we began work on the exhibition. The ethos of Nightingale and what she did is very relevant today."

Image copyright Verney/Claydon Estate Papers
Image caption This sketch shows the Nightingale family home in Derbyshire

Florence Nightingale came from a wealthy family who had a home at Lea Hurst near Matlock.

Tony Butler, executive director of Derby Museums, said she is an "inspirational figure of global importance".

"On this important anniversary we are proud to celebrate one of our best-known local heroines with our communities," he said.

"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."

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to

More on this story