Creating an Outdoor Walking Tour

This summer, I had the opportunity to complete a thorough revamp of the Outdoor Tour program that the Museum has offered for many years. It was a long and tedious but ultimately rewarding process. With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful or interesting to others to explain how I went about the project to transform a few abstract ideas into a polished Museum product, ready for the public to enjoy for years to come. … More Creating an Outdoor Walking Tour

Maternal Mental Health Care

More so than practically any other healthcare subject, mental health topics have acquired a need in recent decades for routine updating and research to compensate for centuries of misinformation. The infiltration of the Maternal Mental Hygiene movement and Attachment Theory into the minds and maternity manuals of Canada can shed light onto the progression of the treatment of maternal mental health across the decades. … More Maternal Mental Health Care

A Trip Down Memory Lane

What is the purpose of a museum? To help people understand the past? To show items that most people would not see? To preserve and display articles from the past so that we can better understand our present? To give a fuller picture of how life used to be? A museum can be all these things, but a museum, especially one with a more modern focus, can be so much more. … More A Trip Down Memory Lane

Laudanum: Freedom from Pain for the Price of Addiction

On Canada Day, the Museum of Health Care unveiled a new exhibit entitled “A Stubborn Illness” about the health of Sir John A. Macdonald and his family. When I first toured the gallery I was struck by the intriguing medicine prescribed to Sir John A. Macdonald’s first wife, Isabella Clark. Visitors seemed to share my sentiment and several have inquired why laudanum is no longer a popular treatment. Further investigation of laudanum and Isabella’s relationship with it reveals that though the drug provided pain relief, its side effects and risks far outweighed its benefits. … More Laudanum: Freedom from Pain for the Price of Addiction

Mandrakes, from Mythology to Museum Collectable

The mandrake surfaces in a wide array of religious, scholarly, literary and popular culture texts. The root’s human-like form and properties as a narcotic (as well as, allegedly, an aphrodisiac and fertility aid) may partially account for the wealth of attention lavished on the plant, as well as its associations with magic and magical practitioners. … More Mandrakes, from Mythology to Museum Collectable

Snakes, Mistakes, and Mythology! The Use of the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus in Modern Medicine

While handling an artifact from the Museum’s collection, a familiar sight piqued my curiosity. Stamped onto a pin awarded by the Canadian Medical Association was a snake coiled around a staff. I had seen the same symbol on the badges of emergency health service workers, emblazoned on ambulances, and on pharmaceutical logos. I wondered, what were the origins this symbol? Why was it significant to medical organizations? Through what process had so many health professionals adopted it as a representation of their work? … More Snakes, Mistakes, and Mythology! The Use of the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus in Modern Medicine