The Story of Dr. Ralph Crawford and his Dental Collection

Did you know that the Museum of Health Care has an extensive collection of dental objects? We have over 680 catalogued on our database, and more where that came from! Much of what we have today we owe to Dr. Patrick “Ralph” Crawford, who donated well over 1500 dentistry-related objects!

Born in Winnipeg in 1928, Ralph Crawford first worked as a Famous Players theatre manager in Moose Jaw after graduating high school. It was there that he met his wife Olga, who would remain his partner from 1952 until his death on July 13th, 2020, when he was ninety-two years old. Dr. Crawford earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 1964, and then practised in Winnipeg and taught at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry.

Toothbrush Boxes -Museum of Health Care 010020218 a-b
Dental Aspirator – Museum of Health Care 010020198

Even after retirement, Dr. Crawford was active in the dental world– he edited the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, was president of the Manitoba and Canadian Dental Associations, and was a fellow of the International College of Dentists, the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and many other organizations. Dr. Crawford was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2019 for his dedication and achievements as a clinician, educator, and historian of dentistry.

Dental Articulator – Museum of Health Care 010020319

Dr. Crawford was an incredible source of knowledge and friend to the Museum of Health Care, and was named Museum Curator Emeritus for his extensive contributions to our dental collections and exhibits. His series of articles “The Canadian Dental Association 1902-2002 – A Century of Service” continues to be an important resource for cataloguing and researching dental artefacts. You can explore some of Dr. Crawford’s donations on the Museum’s database!

To learn more about these artifacts and more, visit our online collection catalogue by clicking the button below.

Shaelyn Ryan <br>(Collections Technician/Assistant 2022)
Shaelyn Ryan
(Collections Technician/Assistant 2022)

Shaelyn Ryan is a recent graduate of Queen’s University, having completed her Bachelor’s degree in History in 2021, and is returning to Queen’s in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in History. Either as a Summer Student or Work-Study Student through Queen’s University, Shaelyn has helped catalogue and research many of the museum’s collection of artefacts as a Collections Technician (since 2018). 

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