Good Air and Bad Air: The Importance of Ventilation

Considered by many as the founder of modern nursing, British social reformer Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was one of the most well-known female voices on health care in the 19th century. In this blog entry, I outline what Florence Nightingale believed was the most important consideration of nursing – the ventilation and good air of a patient’s room – and will explore how this advice recurs and develops in the ensuing forty years in home advice manuals. … More Good Air and Bad Air: The Importance of Ventilation

Domestic Nursing: An Introduction to Maintaining the Sick-Room

Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management: A Complete Cookery Book (1861) was perhaps the most well-known and referred-to home advice manual of its time. It was originally published in 24 separate parts from 1859 to 1861, and then compiled as a bound book in 1861, soon becoming a staple in most Victorian homes. … More Domestic Nursing: An Introduction to Maintaining the Sick-Room

Health Care in the Victorian Home

I am very excited to be able to research and share with you a topic I personally find fascinating – health in the Canadian home during the Victorian era. I will be using home advice manuals, written primarily by women authors, to explore how the day-to-day health of families did not primarily fall underneath the purview of the doctor or the midwife, but was left in the care of the mother of the home or the ‘Angel in the House’. … More Health Care in the Victorian Home

A Necessary Public Service to Uphold: Kingston General Hospital and the Hospital Funding Crisis of 1867

The loss of KGH’s annual grant from the newly formed government in 1867 not only greatly impacted the hospital, but the Kingston community as well. Recognizing the growing value and importance of the hospital to the community, KGH’s Board of Governors and members of the community rallied to save the hospital at this critical juncture in the history of health care in Canada, when the idea of supporting public hospitals was still in question. … More A Necessary Public Service to Uphold: Kingston General Hospital and the Hospital Funding Crisis of 1867

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

From Variolation to Cowpox Vaccination: The First Steps Towards Eradicating Smallpox

Edward Jenner looms large in the history of vaccination.  Known today as the “father of immunology,” Jenner is most famous for developing a vaccine against smallpox in the 1790s.  The vaccine brilliantly made use of common knowledge.  Milkmaids were known for having noticeably clear and smooth skin.  They had, it seemed, managed to develop an immunity to smallpox by suffering (and surviving) a bout of the much milder cowpox. … More From Variolation to Cowpox Vaccination: The First Steps Towards Eradicating Smallpox

The APPle of our Eye: 80 Years of Hospital History in the Palm of your Hand!

In 2011, the Museum received the fantastic news that it had been awarded a grant for $52,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  This funding enabled the Museum to leap with both feet into an exciting two-year project to develop not one, but two new apps that will allow users to explore local medical and nursing history on their phones and mobile devices. … More The APPle of our Eye: 80 Years of Hospital History in the Palm of your Hand!

Medical Contributions of The Great War: Blood Transfusion

Prior to World War One, blood transfusion was a rarely performed and risky procedure. On the eve of the war, scientific development in relation to transfusion technology progressed making it a more viable procedure. Survival rates on the front lines increased as new transfusion techniques were mastered. The benefits of the medical developments that occurred during the war should not only be remembered on Remembrance Day, as blood transfusions continue to save hundreds of lives each day. … More Medical Contributions of The Great War: Blood Transfusion