What Do You Mean Museums Aren’t Forever? The Whats and Whys of Deaccessioning

Deaccessioning is the formal removal of an item from a museum’s permanent collection. The important thing to know about deaccessioning is that it’s mostly about paperwork and about status. An item can be deaccessioned without moving from its spot on a shelf. Physical removal of the item is a different and related process, called disposal (disposal in this case doesn’t translate to “garbage,” it just means putting the object somewhere else). We can deaccession items and not dispose of them, but a museum should never dispose of an item without deaccessioning it. … More What Do You Mean Museums Aren’t Forever? The Whats and Whys of Deaccessioning

So You’ve Got a Curator. Now What?

The Museum of Health Care at Kingston has hired a curator! Huzzah!
But some of you may be wondering: what does that actually mean? What on earth is a curator and what do they do? It’s both simple and surprisingly hard to answer. You’re probably at least vaguely aware that a curator is someone who works in a museum. You might have seen a curator in a movie, usually in the form of a pretentious, stodgy academic peevishly insisting that the hero stop touching the exhibits and with pretty even odds on getting murdered by a supernatural force trapped in some ancient artifact (as far as movie professions go, curators tend to have lifespans approximately equal to cops the day before retirement). You may have heard of someone curating a social media feed or a Pinterest board or read a thinkpiece on why calling everyone who collects content a curator will be the downfall of society. All of which can make it hard to figure out what exactly a museum curator does.
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Voluntary Veil: The Canadian Voluntary Aid Detachment in the First World War

Before the mid 19th century, women had a discreet but ever-present role on the battlefield, mostly as camp followers. When women such as Florence Nightingale started to demonstrate the value of military nurses, armies began to slowly, but surely assign them to their medical services. … More Voluntary Veil: The Canadian Voluntary Aid Detachment in the First World War

A Hair-Razing History of the Beard: Facial Hair and Men’s Health from the Crimean War to the First World War

The period following the Crimean War and until the end of the First World War marks an interesting time for men’s fashion and health. During the Victorian period, beards and other facial hair styles enjoyed resurgence in popularity which had not been seen since the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.[1] While the facial hair trend waned by the end of the nineteenth century,[2] enthusiasm for debating the cleanliness and overall health of bearded and non-bearded men remained strong. With increased attention to the face, and more specifically the hair on it, doctors, nurses, soldiers and the general public engaged in spirited discussions of men’s health. … More A Hair-Razing History of the Beard: Facial Hair and Men’s Health from the Crimean War to the First World War

Vaccines and Immunization: Epidemics, Prevention, and Canadian Innovation

There is significant public debate over the merits and risk of vaccinations, much of which is fueled by inflammatory rhetoric rather than facts and science.  This debate has raged ever since the first vaccine for smallpox was proposed by Dr. Edward Jenner in the 1790s and, doubtless, it will continue as new vaccines are developed.  … More Vaccines and Immunization: Epidemics, Prevention, and Canadian Innovation