The Plague Doctor, Popular Culture, and COVID-19

At the time when doctors believed that miasmic fumes were responsible for the transfer illnesses, rather than germ theory, medical professionals developed elaborate outfits to protect against the believed noxious air. The bubonic plague ravaged across Europe and Asia through the 14th to 17th centuries, with the prevailing theory was that it was caused by the miasmic theory of “malignant air”. In reality, the bubonic plague was actually spread when infected fleas from small animals entered into the human system by a flea bite. “The Plague Doctor” uniform was quite useless in assisting to protect against the disease, which killed an estimated 200 million people worldwide. But in many ways, the protective uniform worn by these doctors seems similar to what current medical professionals wear when treating those with infectious diseases. … More The Plague Doctor, Popular Culture, and COVID-19

Benzedrine Sulfate: From Military Stimulant to Weight Management

“Due to the drug’s new found psychiatric uses, Benzedrine Sulfate tablets became a military staple during the World War II by both the Axis and Allied forces.” Benzedrine Sulfate’s was originally introduced as a decongestant produced in the form of a nasal inhaler. In 1936, Benzadrine Sulfate tablets came on the market to treat a … More Benzedrine Sulfate: From Military Stimulant to Weight Management

Discovering Diseases: The Beginnings of Germ Theory and Preventative Precautions

“Germ theory was not easily accepted. All across Europe and into the USA and Canada, it was heavily contested and challenged by medical professionals who were unwilling to accept the changes to the scientific system.” … More Discovering Diseases: The Beginnings of Germ Theory and Preventative Precautions

Quarantine and Isolation: A Brief History of Public Health Measures Against Infectious Disease

“From isolation in the home to the closure of public spaces, history contains many pertinent lessons in the control of infectious disease.” By now, most of us are no strangers to the idea of quarantine. “Self-isolation” and “social distancing” have come to be the new normal for many people all over the world as we … More Quarantine and Isolation: A Brief History of Public Health Measures Against Infectious Disease

Teacher Candidates and Museum Placements: Something Different (in a Good Way)

The following was written by Justin Ao, a Queen’s Education Program Placement Student, who was with the Museum of Health Care during March 2020. Education as an institution has evolved through the years – not only what we teach, but how and why we teach is drastically different from mere decades ago. As a Queen’s … More Teacher Candidates and Museum Placements: Something Different (in a Good Way)

The Introduction of Psychiatric Nursing: The Rockwood Training School for Nurses

Nurses were expected to be proficient in both mental health and physical nursing, as well as to be knowledgeable of the various mental illnesses and how they may appear. For the majority of the nineteenth century, trained nurses did not work at hospitals or asylums. The members of staff who interacted frequently with the patients … More The Introduction of Psychiatric Nursing: The Rockwood Training School for Nurses

A Lifetime of Service: The Medical Career of Lieutenant Colonel Allan M. Davidson

A museum collection is more than an assortment of objects. It is a gateway into our collective past. Objects provide a tangible connection to the stories that make up individuals and communities. Of all the artifacts in museum collections, photographs provide perhaps the most visceral connection to the past. Photographs are snapshots of a moment … More A Lifetime of Service: The Medical Career of Lieutenant Colonel Allan M. Davidson

Moral Treatment: A New Therapeutic Model

Organized sports and bicycling were also popular. These activities were believed to assist recovery, as they broke up the monotony of asylum life. In the late nineteenth century, Rockwood Asylum underwent a drastic change in treatment philosophies. Begun under the guidance of the third Superintendent Dr. William Metcalf, and continued by Dr. Charles Kirk Clarke, … More Moral Treatment: A New Therapeutic Model