1 September 2009

New Brunswick Museum Launches Travelling Exhibition on Nursing in New Brunswick


The exhibition The Lamp and the Union: Nursing in Twentieth Century New Brunswick, developed by the New Brunswick Museum, will be displayed at the conference Informing Public Policy: Socio-economic and Historical Perspectives on Labour in New Brunswick on September 1 and 2 in Fredericton.  The exhibition is based on research conducted by Gary Hughes, the Museum’s Curator of History and Technology, in cooperation with the Nurses Association of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Nurses Union.

This travelling exhibition presents a sampling of artifacts from the Museum’s New Brunswick Nursing History Collection. It highlights the dramatic changes which occurred in the profession from the time when the first nursing schools were established in New Brunswick in the late nineteenth century to the emergence of a more activist and specialized profession.  Hughes comments that “the sense of ritual embodied in costume and ceremony during the early years served to enhance the symbolic importance of an emerging profession. Once established, most elements of this costume disappeared as nursing became integral to the hospital setting and nurses moved beyond their traditional role of caring and into that of diagnosis and curing. This change was mirrored by the emergence of bargaining committees and unions to protect and enhance these gains.”

The Lamp and the Union exhibition will be officially launched on Tuesday, September 1 at 1 pm at the Wu Conference Centre, at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The exhibition will subsequently travel to other locations in the province.

The research for this exhibition was conducted as part of a multi-year research project to help New Brunswick workers learn from the experiences of other workers over the past century. This project was funded through the Community University Research Alliance Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Professors at the University of New Brunswick and Université de Moncton, along with researchers from labour groups and heritage organizations including the New Brunswick Museum, carried out research on a variety of topics relating to working life in New Brunswick. Results of this research are being shared through the Informing Public Policy conference, the travelling exhibition and other means.

For further information:

Vita Kipping
Community Relations
New Brunswick Museum
Tel: 506-643-2358
Toll-free: 1-888-268-9595
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