The History of Medicine Collection
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The History of Medicine Collection at Western Archives

The History of Medicine Collection at Western Archives contains textual and image records that outline the history of medicine in western Ontario. The Collection, consisting of 64 boxes, contains a range of items including: medical certificates, portraits, class photos, yearbooks, medical banquet programs, doctors' ledgers, lecture notes, articles, and journals. The Collection provides a look into the growth of the department and Faculty of Medicine at The University of Western Ontario.

The Medical Artifact Collection

In the early 1920s, the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Western Ontario began collecting medical artifacts from students, alumni and doctors for a Medical Historical Museum. Over the next several decades, a modest collection of 19th- and 20th-century medical objects, from bloodletting instruments and surgical sets to microscopes and pharmaceuticals, was assembled at the University. The collection however remained without a formal museum setting until 1972, at which time the Medical Museum opened at the newly built University Hospital. The collection was transferred from the University to the Hospital for the purposes of this museum. Two exhibit areas – a recreated Victorian doctor’s office as well as cabinet displays – showcased the drug chests, stethoscopes, electrotherapeutic machines, doctor’s bags, wooden legs, trephines, scalpels, anesthetic masks, X-ray tubes, obstetrical instruments, and other artifacts. Museum curators Joan Stevenson (1972-86) and J.T.H. Connor (1986-92) managed and promoted the collection as a teaching and educational resource for the community and the university. In 1994, the Medical Museum was closed when University Hospital administrators declared that it could no longer dedicate required resources for its maintenance. Subsequently, the collection was divided and transferred to three different London locations – Fanshawe Pioneer Village, the Victoria Hospital Museum and Archives, and the Department of History of Medicine at The University of Western Ontario.

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