Steps away from Lake Ontario, I discovered the Museum of Health Care at Kingston

Twice in the last month, I’ve heard music as I approached Newlands Pavilion. Perhaps that’s not surprising given that this attractive wooden building was designed in 1896 as a music pavilion, but it’s nice to know that it is still being used for musical events and dances. It’s a very special part of Kingston’s waterfront, equally popular for selfies and weddings. With its open walls, it allows people to shelter from the sun while still enjoying the lake breezes. Only three minutes away on foot is another of Kingston’s attractions – a fascinating museum, filled with historic treasures.

HC - saws

Photo credit: Kingston Association of Museums

You’ll arrive at the “Museum of Health Care at Kingston” by heading west along King Street for one block and then heading north on George Street for another block. The century-old building at 32 George Street, once the residence for KGH nursing students, is now a world-class museum with ten galleries dedicated to the history of health care.

HC - iron lung

Photo credit: The Museum of Health Care at Kingston 

This museum, with an impressive collection of artifacts, had just the right amount of signage to help me understand how healthcare has evolved, to connect me with the struggles of past generations and to allow me to imagine the pride of healthcare professionals as they used what was then “state-of-the-art” technology. In the “Immunizations and Vaccines” gallery, I learned about smallpox, whooping cough, diphtheria and polio, but what really caught my attention was a large metal contraption, similar in size to a coffin. Come to the museum to see what it is.

Photo credit: Kingston Association of Museums

In the “Electrifying Medicine” gallery, I was able to see how a physician’s office would have looked in the 1920s. There’s also a children’s area, called “The Skin You’re In” that uses hands-on activities and art to help kids uncover the mysteries of the skin. The museum (http://www.museumofhealthcare.ca) is open during the summer from 10am to 4pm every day but Monday. Admission is by donation. Wander away from Kingston’s waterfront and discover the every-changing frontiers of healthcare.

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