Museum display showcases OVC’s ties with Guelph community

As OVC celebrates its 150th anniversary, the Guelph Civic Museum is celebrating its grand reopening in a brand new location, the historic Loretto convent building on Norfolk Street. What better way to share some of the history of OVC with the Guelph community than to provide a unique exhibit for the museum in its new home?

Starting March 9 and running until June 18, the exhibit will provide museum visitors with an intriguing glimpse into the challenges and accomplishments of OVC.

When OVC was founded in Toronto in 1862, its primary purpose was to train people to look after the horses that played a vital role in the economy of what was then the colony of Upper Canada. But as the importance of horsepower began to wane and farm animals and agriculture became more important, the College moved to Guelph in 1922.

“Since then, OVC has played a significant role in shaping the city and the surrounding community – and people are interested in knowing more about what we do,” said Dr. Peter Conlon, associate dean (students) and a keen student of OVC history.

“So please join us in reflecting on our College’s proud heritage and its exciting future. Visit the Guelph Civic Museum and celebrate OVC’s anniversary and the birth of veterinary medicine in Canada.”

The exhibit was put together by Natasha Hayward in consultation with OVC staff including OVC 150 co-ordinator Tara O’Brien as well as PhD student Lisa Cox, who has spent the past few years poring over OVC artifacts for her research on the history of zoonotic diseases.

Hayward chose a selection of artifacts from the past 150 years of teaching, research and service at OVC. One example: When Andrew Smith, OVC’s founder, began teaching, he had one course and one textbook. An enterprising student from those early classes took all his class notes and made them into a book – Canada’s first veterinary manual, and one that was used widely around the world. An original copy of that book is on display.

The exhibit also features a series of panels with historic photos and information about OVC’s past. Other panels look to the future with descriptions of veterinary work today and the life of a veterinary student.

Posted by Kim Lawrence on April 12, 2012