News Release–Museum of Health Care at Kingston contributes expertise to new Heritage Minute

Local museum helps bring health care history to life in new Heritage Minute celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin

Kingston, ON—The Museum of Health Care at Kingston has added reason to celebrate Museum Month this May with the release of the latest Heritage Minute by Historica Canada. The Museum’s Collections Manager, Kathy Karkut served as an advisor to the project’s producers to ensure historical accuracy of the various medical tools and items used in the new Heritage Minute that celebrates the discovery of insulin.

100 years ago at the University of Toronto, Scientists Fredrick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip and J. R. Macleod, made the historic discovery of insulin, the life saving treatment for those living with diabetes. At the beginning of the 20th century, Type 1 diabetes was a life-threatening illness with death as the almost certain outcome. In May of 1921, Banting and Best, under the direction of J. J. R. Macleod, isolated what would later be known as insulin. James Collip would work to further purify it to make it safe for human injection.

As Canada’s foremost resource for medical and health related artifacts, the Museum of Health Care was a natural choice to aid with the project. With a collection of over 40,000 items, some of which are the last of their kind, and Collection Manager Kathy Karkut’s extensive experience, Historica was sure to present a historically correct depiction of the events leading to the miraculous discovery. Historica provided Kathy with a list of images of selected medical items they were using for the video for her review. Kathy was then able to provide the correct version for these items from the Museum’s 1915 medical supplies catalogue and images of similar items in its collection. This provided Historica with the framework to locate the correct medical items suitable to a ward at the Toronto General Hospital in 1922.


Kathy Karkut, Collections Manager, Museum of Health Care at Kingston

“As the Museum of Health Care at Kingston has such a large collection of historical medical artifacts, we are frequently called upon to review and identify medical items for other museums , both nationally and internationally. Working on a broader scale for the Heritage Minute celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin was a particularly wonderful experience due to the iconic nature of the series. It was really exciting to have a hand in ensuring accuracy of the information presented for this important milestone in our Canadian medical history.”

Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada

“Over the last three decades, the Minutes have become a familiar and trusted resource for millions of Canadians, so accuracy is absolutely essential for us in producing them. The Museum of Health Care at Kingston, and Kathy Karkut in particular, was instrumental in ensuring that the medical equipment in the Discovery of Insulin Heritage Minute reflects those used 100 years ago.”

Kevin Moorhouse, Museum Manager, Museum of Health Care at Kingston

“I think I speak for everyone at the Museum when I say that this partnership is the perfect showcase of bringing healthcare history to life. I’m sure most Canadians can remember watching Heritage Minutes at school or during TV commercial breaks, so to now be part of an organization that has helped create a Minute, is a pretty cool feeling. Seeing the fascinating information we put so much time into sharing so clearly translate on to the big screen is fantastic!”

About the Museum of Health Care at Kingston
The Museum of Health Care at Kingston connects visitors with the experiences of people in the past to provide context and perspective on today’s health issues. The Museum is Canada’s national resource for health care history. Through exhibitions, guided tours, education programs, our online collection catalogue, and a curated blog, we provide a wide ranging audience access to Canada’s rich health care past. We strive to inspire wonder, promote learning, and create knowledge that will contribute to a better future in health and health care. For more information visit: or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube

Media Contact:
Kevin Moorhouse, Museum Manager
Phone: 613-548-2419

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