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Barker Veterinary Museum at OVC Transitions to Online Platform

Barker Veterinary Museum website One of the only collections of its kind in Canada, the Barker Veterinary Museum (BVM) at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) reflects the deep and diverse history of our relationship with animals through more than 150 years of veterinary science in Canada.

With more than 10,000 objects in its holdings, the museum was established in the late 1940s as the C.A.V. Barker Museum of Canadian Veterinary History under the vision and leadership of Prof. Clifford A. V. Barker, OVC Class of 1941 and faculty member in what is now OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies.

Due to the unusual and difficult challenges of the year 2020, many museums have closed their doors and invested in new ways to engage with their visitors. In August 2020, the BVM fully transitioned to an online platform, a change planned slightly before COVID-19 due to reallocation of the museum’s showcase room in the OVC’s main administrative building.

Main OVC Building and Infirmary (Credit: C.A.V. Barker Collection, Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library)"While plans for a new physical display space are in the works, it may be some time before the museum can receive visitors," says the BVM’s curator, Lisa Cox. "For now, the best place to interact with the museum is through our new online platform."

The BVM website provides information about the museum’s holdings, shares articles about the history of veterinary medicine and animals through the lens of the collection and offers ways for visitors to interact with the museum. Contact information is also provided for those wishing to donate to the museum.

Its collection can be broadly categorized into three areas of veterinary history: veterinary education, veterinary practice, and the role of veterinarians in public service such as the military and public health. The museum holds a rich variety of instruments, pharmaceuticals, teaching and research equipment, student notebooks and memorabilia, as well as photographs, books and other archival material.

Anyone wishing to access the collection or information about veterinary history is asked to contact Cox at ovc.museum@uoguelph.ca.

Cox began contributing to heritage projects at the OVC in 2010 and was named the museum collection’s curator in 2016. She is passionate about building and promoting the BVM and has led the redevelopment of the museum’s existing holdings, has taken in several new collections, and expanded experiential learning opportunities with the museum for undergraduate and graduate students from across campus.

Learn more about the new online Barker Veterinary Museum

Image of Main OVC Building and Infirmary (Credit: C.A.V. Barker Collection, Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library)