‘History of Healing’ exhibit delves into Kings County’s medical past

Published on August 7, 2017

Eastern Kings Memorial Community Health Centre administrative support worker Rebecca Hatchard, administrative assistant Janet Denton and site lead Sue Daniels are pleased that several artifacts of significance to Kings County’s medical history have found a home at the Kings County Museum.

©Kirk Starratt

KENTVILLE, NS - They’re relieved that items representing Kings County’s medical history are being preserved in a place where people can enjoy and learn from them.

Employees of the Eastern Kings Memorial Community Health Centre (EKMCHC) in Wolfville who discovered a cache of medical artefacts tucked away in a storage room said it feels “wonderful” to see them given a home at the Kings County Museum.

The items are on display for the summer as part of a mini-exhibit called “The History of Healing.”

EKMCHC site lead Sue Daniels said the genesis of the exhibit came with a routine visit to the health centre by Deputy Fire Marshal Rick Smith in the fall of 2016. After it was suggested that some of the clutter be cleared from storage areas, employees discovered a room containing various health-related artefacts.

“We didn’t know where they came from but one box was clearly marked ‘Miller Hospital’,” Daniels said.

As they began to examine them, it became evident that the artefacts – some rather odd – have a story to tell. Daniels said it isn’t difficult to find people around who had some sort of connection to Kentville’s Miller Hospital. In its day, it was state-of-the-art.

“We weren’t sure if the any of the equipment or pieces were historically significant but they certainly are of interest to people in this area particularly,” she said.

Daniels said they weren’t sure what to do with the equipment and didn’t want to discard it.

EKMCHC administrative assistant Janet Denton said everything seemed to fall into place once they contacted Kings County Museum curator Bria Stokesbury. The timing was perfect, as the museum was interested in hosting an exhibit with a medical theme. Denton said they had tried several years ago to find the artefacts a home but those efforts never materialized.

Some of the items found were a model of the Miller Hospital, a wooden wheelchair suitable for a child, wooden children’s handcrafted crutches, a metabulator and a commode.

“We had a couple of physicians who came and looked at some of the stuff,” Daniels said. “They were astounded.”

EKMCHC administrative support worker Rebecca Hatchard said it’s great to have found a home for the items locally with the Kings County Museum.

Daniels said the items had been tightly packed away in a storage room at the health centre and it worried them to think what would have happened if the sprinkler system had ever gone off.

The exhibit includes historical narratives about the Western Kings Memorial Hospital, the Blanchard Fraser Memorial Hospital and the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital, now the EKMCHC.

Medical history talk in October

This October, Dr. Allan Marble of the Medical History Society of Nova Scotia will be the Kings Historical Society’s guest speaker at their monthly meeting at the Kings County Museum.

He has written extensively on medical history and will be speaking on “The History of Medicine in Kings County from 1761 to 1962”. For more information on the medical history society, visit