The Florence Nightingale Museum at St Thomas' Hospital is to close to visitors for the foreseeable future and expects to make staff redundant.
First opened just over 30 years ago, the museum was looking forward to a busy 2020 marking Florence Nightingale's bicentenary year which was to be an international celebration for the nursing profession.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of the Nightingale bicentenary exhibition just a fortnight into its run, and despite limited reopening last autumn the museum has continued to struggle.
The museum is in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital where Florence Nightingale established her pioneering nursing school.
"The events of the past year have been devastating for so many," said David Green, director of the Florence Nightingale Museum.
"From our own perspective, to go from the furious activity and high visitor numbers of the early months of 2020, to instant desolation was a major blow, especially as this all happened during Florence's bicentenary year and the World Health Organisation's Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
Since March 2020, we have explored every avenue and resource available to us, in order to keep the museum operating.
"Throughout this turbulent time, we have received so much wonderful support from the museum's visitors, as well as all manner of arts organisations, not to mention the dedicated and tenacious work of our staff.
"Now, the need for changes to the museum's operation is vital to ensure that it has a future, particularly as ... the situation is unlikely to improve significantly for many months."
Whilst there is a slim chance the museum will be able to welcome visitors for a few weeks if tier 4 restrictions are eased, from the end of February the doors will be closed except for special one-off events.
The museum relies on visitors for around 95 per cent of its income; and more than half of those are visitors travelling to London from overseas.
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