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Banting House, Birthplace of Insulin, London, Ontario
Image by Ken Lund
Banting House is known as “The Birthplace of Insulin.” Located at 442 Adelaide St. N. in London, Ontario, Canada, it is the house where Sir Frederick Banting woke up at two o’clock in the morning on October 31st, 1920 with the idea that led to the discovery of insulin.
Since 1984, the house has been a museum dedicated to Banting’s discovery and his life. An addition at the back houses the London & District Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association. For many that have been touched by diabetes, the house is an emotional reminder of Banting’s scientific contribution that saved their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
Banting lived at the house in London for ten months, beginning in June, 1920. He attempted a private medical practice and when it was unsuccessful, he began working at the University of Western Ontario; his research for a lecture there was what inspired his 25 word idea that provided the key to discovering insulin, and prevented the certain death of those affected by diabetes. Banting returned to the University of Toronto to begin his research on insulin in the spring of 1921.
Banting House is dedicated to the story behind the discovery of insulin, as well as Banting’s life and career. Its galleries focus on everything from his time spent in London, to his contributions in both World Wars, to his efforts as an artist. Some notable artifacts include Banting’s original art, desk, medicine cabinet, and bed frame, as well as his Military Cross, the KBE, and his official replica of the Nobel Prize. Banting House was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1997.
For decades, the public viewed the house as the “Birthplace of Insulin,” and many individuals expressed their desire to have it turned into a shrine or monument to honour the Canadian hero. It was first internationally referred to with the title “Birthplace of Insulin,” in 1923, by the Detroit Free Press. After 47 years, the house received official recognition in 1970, in the form of a plaque for the house, awarded by the London Public Library Board. In 1981, the London & District Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association purchased the house, and began to use it as an office; they hoped to eventually restore the house, and turn it into a museum. Through various grants and fundraising efforts, by 1984, the museum was operational.
Banting House features archival materials, artifacts, and other ephemera associated with Banting as co-discoverer of insulin, doctor, and artist, as well as his involvement in the first and second world wars.
One gallery depicts the kind of office Banting might have had, and contains several of his belongings, including his original medicine cabinet, and a graduated cylinder Banting used during his time at the University of Western Ontario. The apothecary in the next room features a sink that Banting installed for his medical practice. Other galleries in the museum hold original belongings of Banting as well, most notably his desk and his bed frame. The bed frame is kept in Banting’s bedroom, and visitors are encouraged to take a moment or a picture with it, as it is not roped off like many other areas of the museum.
Additionally, an official replica of the Nobel Prize medal co-awarded to Banting and Macleod is on display, as well as many of Banting’s other medals. Other displays include the military gallery, which includes a representation of the type of operating room Banting would have worked in on the field during the First World War, some information on the projects he headed during the Second World War, and an entire gallery filled with artwork done by Banting.
Adjacent to the museum is Sir Frederick G. Banting Square, a garden with several information plaques, and three main attractions. Two of the attractions, a full-sized sculpture of Banting writing his life-altering idea down, and the Flame of Hope, were unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The Flame of Hope, symbolizing the hope for a final cure for diabetes, was kindled by Her Majesty during her visit. The third attraction is the globe sculpture, which was added more recently in 2010. It represents Canada’s gift to the world, and embraces Banting House’s visitors from abroad, with the names of every country listed on it.
Image by Coffeelatte
I get such a kick out of creating this stuff using all the little bits and pieces that have come into my possession over the years. This was a really satisfying project, and I am finally feeling like I "get" how to create the effects…it’s not all accidental art anymore! The challenge for this swap was to create an assemblage with a steampunk theme. I had two small horizontal pieces of scrolled wood. I used those as achors for the top and bottom decorations. It’s a thin sheet of wood that I had left from a SuziBlu class that I cut down and wedged between the scrolls to give me a flat surface. I attached the pieces using wood glue and "melded" them together with some Aves Apoxie clay. I spread small amounts of clay on the flat front to add some texture, and embedded a bunch of metal findings and beads. The decorative circle is actually the lid from a small plastic resin container I found at a thrift store. The photograph is held inside a metal mint tin that has a clear plastic lid — these are sold as party favor containers and I picked up a batch at another thrift store for 99 cents! I adhered the photo inside with Diamond Glaze and mounted some irridescent gift wrap in the very back of the round tin. I bought the geared piece that juts out on the right at MECCA, our local art materials exchange. From that I hung a chain and hook that I think came from a Tim Holtz "Idea-ology" set. The black crystal is from a necklace I bought on sale at Claire’s retail store. I think the black and amber beads are also from a Claire’s necklace. The only true vintage items are the round wooden piece with 71 on it at the top, and the picture of the man inside the tin. He was cut from an 1880s Munsey’s magazine that I bought somewhere…a former governor of Tennessee. I used twisted jewelry wire to try and give it a more electrically connected look. The paint is layers and layers and layers of thin wash…I used Van Dyke Brown, Viridian Green, Anthraquinone Blue, a Folk Art deep antique gold and Golden fine irridescent gold.
PS – Many thanks to Michael DeMeng for those pointers on paint mixing the past two years at Art & Soul in Portland. You are so inspiring and encouraging!
valentines day ideas
Image by GoWISE
Prepare a nice dinner that says you care with a pressure cooker by GoWISE USA.