Preserving Nova Scotias medical heritage
The Medical History Society of Nova Scotia formally came into being on March 27, 1992 at which time it was registered with the Registry of Joint Stocks of Nova Scotia as a Museum/Society. Originally, the Society was called “The Archives Committee of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia” (now Doctors Nova Scotia). The founding members included:
Drs. E. C. Abbott, I. Cameron, J. M.Crosby, M. Elwood, S. Haycock, M.R. MacDonald, A. J. MacDonald, Marble, W. F. Mason, D.K. Murray, E. Nurse, E.F. Ross, B J. Steele and Curator, Owen McInerney.
The Society acquired Charitable Status with Canada Customs Revenue Agency and its mandate, “to preserve the medical heritage of the province of Nova Scotia”, draws from a rich history in our province of outstanding physicians over a span of many decades. In 2000, Beth MacPherson was hired as Administrator and commenced her work with the implementation of Dr. Andrew Nurse’s Strategic Plan for the Society. As well, the By-laws were revised and Dr. Marie Elwood created our official logo in 2004. As Dr. Eugene Nurse completed his outstanding tenure as Chairman, he handed the reins to Dr. Allan E. Marble whose research and development of numerous medical history presentations has resulted in as many displays. Dr. Marble has produced geographically relevant medical history displays that are customized to profile outstanding physicians and events throughout the province. These have been installed in the metropolitan areas, Yarmouth, Colchester County, Sherbrooke and Cape Breton. In the Winter of 2008, the Yarmouth County Museum unveiled an extensive display on the Webster Family of Physicians commencing with Dr. Isaac Webster who arrived in Nova Scotia in the late 1700’s. He was the forefather of several generations of physicians who practiced in our province right to the present day profiling of Dr. David Webster, family physician practicing in Yarmouth. This exceptional family has its actual artefacts used in this display and is a must see for medical history buffs.
Sherbrooke Village housed a display on Dr. Stella Messenger-Pearson, a sole female general practitioner who practiced in Sherbrooke Village in 1919. This display provided an historical view into the trials facing family doctors at a time in Atlantic history where any task from dentistry to obstetrics to surgery on the dining room table could occur. All of this, with no electricity or running water would make rural practice a tremendous challenge. The profile of Dr. John Stewart has recently been installed in the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton College. This was researched and written by Dr. Allan Marble, our distinguished Chair and prominent Nova Scotia medical historian.
Phase II of our website has now been completed (www.medicalhistoryns.com). It allows our viewers to watch five quick time movies from the medical history presentations of Dr. Marble on our site. The cataloging and photographing of our artefact collection continues. Most of our book collections have been cataloged and in time, we will enter these into a searchable database. To view the collection you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a viewing time. We provided seven medical history displays for the National Medical Hall of Fame celebration in Halifax in May 2013.
As part of our strategic plan and mandate of “preserving the medical history of Nova Scotia” we are moving forward with the creation of four customized displays in the next two years. We continue to look for space as our holdings are overflowing in our present location. In order to expand our revenue bases we have also developed a program called “Patrons & Friends of the Medical History Society of Nova Scotia”. This gives the families of the physicians we profile an opportunity to support our mandate.
The Medical History Society of Nova Scotia
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