New museum exhibit on health won’t hurt a bit

The latest exhibit at the Chilliwack Museum opens on Friday, March 15 called May Health, Peace and Contentment Be Yours

Curator Paul Ferguson describes the new exhibit at the Chilliwack Museum as a thoughtful look at life — from birth to death.

“It’s meant to be personal,” he said.

The name of the show, May Health, Peace and Contentment be Yours, actually dates back to 1926, as the theme of of the annual promotional calendar given to Chilliwack customers from the Hipwell Drugstore.

The health exhibit at the Chilliwack Museum opens on Friday, March 15, with everything from information on germ theory, or stitches, to the use of mercurochrome. There’s plenty to pore over.

Everyone can relate to going to see doctors, dentists, chiropractors and other health professionals.

Historical objects, artifacts and accompanying texts will provide insight into some of the medical advances made over the last 150 years.

The objects are pulled from the museum’s substantial collection, said Ferguson, who is the Heritage Records Manager.

Many of the items selected have been in the collection for years but have never been displayed — or at least not in a medical context.

One such example is the A.C. Wells’ tooth extractor forceps which dates back to the 1860s and is considered one of the oldest objects in their collection.

Wells arrived in Chilliwack in 1866 and was known as the person to see if a tooth had to be pulled.

It wasn’t until the arrival of Dr. J.C. Henderson in 1887, and Dr. William Vaughn Davies, Chilliwack’s first dentist who came in 1906 that Chilliwack had any professionally trained health professionals. Even the City’s first surgeon, Dr. Albert Phelps, was a latecomer, beginning his practice in 1954. The museum, Ferguson noted, has objects owned or associated with some of these individuals.

“One of the things I found in doing the research was that a lot of people were willing to help out, and offered to lend us items for this exhibit,” Ferguson said.

A video portion of the exhibit includes interviews with Dr. Archie Young and Dr. Henry Pauls who was Chilliwack’s second resident surgeon. The exhibit opens at 1 p.m. on March 15 and stays in place for the remainder of the year. For more details call 604-795-5210.

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