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

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

Getting a Leg Up: A Brief History of Prosthetics through the lens of our collection

Though Ernest was a farmer, and—according to family—was not a particularly wealthy individual, he was lucky enough to acquire two full, well-made, advanced prosthetic legs. The history of an individual prosthetic limb can be difficult to trace, as good documentation is often lacking. The Museum of Health Care at Kingston has six prosthetic limbs in … More Getting a Leg Up: A Brief History of Prosthetics through the lens of our collection

Curative Architecture: The Healthful Design of Rockwood Asylum

In July of 1856 thirty-six acres of an estate west of Portsmouth Village, previously owned by politician John Cartwright, were purchased by the United Province of Canada East and Canada West. The intended purpose of the land? To become the home of a future asylum, intended to house both the “criminally insane” of Kington Penitentiary … More Curative Architecture: The Healthful Design of Rockwood Asylum

Treatments for Menstrual Cramps throughout History

The following blog post was written by Shaelagh Cull, Summer 2015 Public Programs Assistant .   “My pen cannot express the anguish and pain suffered by some women…”:[1] For many women, each month until menopause will bring with it a new menstrual cycle. Anywhere between twenty to ninety percent of women will experience painful cramping, … More Treatments for Menstrual Cramps throughout History

Mental Health: Tracing the History of Stigma

The following blog post was written by Abbey Cressman, Summer 2014 Public Programs Assistant   When researching ancient diseases, their symptoms, and treatments, I have often been struck by the correlation between the magnitude of lives lost and the health care standards of the time. I have read staggering statistics that throughout the nineteenth century, … More Mental Health: Tracing the History of Stigma