Based in Kingston, ON, our mission at the Museum of Health Care is to connect learners of all ages with Canadian health care’s complex and intriguing history.

Explore our blog to learn about select pieces from our 40,000 artifact collection, discover lesser known history about the medical profession, or take a look at our at-home educational activities.

The Story of Robert Liston and his Surgical Skill

Dr. Robert Liston was a resolute gentleman, known for his incredible ability to perform surgeries at an alarmingly fast pace in order to reduce the pain and risk of shock and blood loss for the patient. Before anaesthetics were introduced into surgical practice, Liston’s speed often meant the difference between life and death for the person on the operating table. ⁠

Liston was known as a skilled surgeon with an argumentative personality, due in part to his strong convictions and deep care for his patients. He had a strong sense of decency and was not afraid to call out his fellow surgeons and teachers – and even engage in physical confrontations – if he suspected they had behaved indecently. ⁠ … More The Story of Robert Liston and his Surgical Skill

The Story of Dudley Ward and his Dingbat Calendars

Remembered by so many for his fantastical creatures known as “Dingbats”, William Dudley Burnett Ward was an accomplished English-Canadian illustrator. His Dingbat characters, which combined cartoon art and surrealism, began appearing on advertising calendars for the Charles E. Frosst pharmaceutical company in 1915, and continued under different artists until they were discontinued in 1996 because it was decided that they represented unfair competition for other pharmaceutical brands. He also acted as an illustrator and cartoonist in England and Canada for many years. Today, in addition to the many Dingbat calendars in the collections of the Museum of Health Care, his works can be found in the National Gallery of Canada and the AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario⁠. … More The Story of Dudley Ward and his Dingbat Calendars

The Story of Dr. Grasett and the Typhus Epidemic

Dr. G. R. Grasett practiced in Amherstburg, Upper Canada (Ontario) and was Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Essex Light Infantry during the Upper Canada Rebellion. He fell ill with typhus within two weeks of working at the Emigrant Hospital, and passed away on July 16th, 1847, at the age of thirty-six. He was remembered as a compassionate, devoted doctor, and is commemorated today at Grasett Park in Toronto, which was built on the same spot where the fever sheds were, and is managed by the Canada Ireland Foundation. … More The Story of Dr. Grasett and the Typhus Epidemic

The Story of Santa Claus and his Coca-Cola connection

So why does the Museum of Health Care have bottles of Coca-Cola in its collections? When Coca-Cola was first sold in the late-nineteenth century, it was marketed as a patent medicine which could cure headache, neuralgia, melancholy, hysteria, morphine addiction, and more. This was because it contained cocaine, from the coca leaves from which it was made, and caffeine, from kola nuts. It was not until around 1903-1904 that the company removed cocaine from the popular drink due to changes in laws surrounding the drug. … More The Story of Santa Claus and his Coca-Cola connection

Museum Committee Members Wanted!

We are looking for enthusiastic committee members who will help support museum staff and work diligently to support our mission and vision. Our vision is to be recognized as the national resource for Canada’s evolving health and healthcare history. Our mission is to inspire wonder, promote learning and create knowledge that contributes to a better future in health and healthcare. … More Museum Committee Members Wanted!

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Shaelyn Ryan
Collections Technician/Assistant
Savannah Sewell
Margaret Angus Research Fellow (MARF) 2021
Hannah Samuels
Public Programs Assistant
Victor Drazilov
Public Programs Assistant