Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being a volunteer judge for the Kingston Regional Heritage Fair. It was such an inspiring experience to listen to young students from a range of grades passionately discuss their historical topics at Duncan McArthur Hall. At the lunch break I sat down with the other judges (the majority being some very friendly Master’s and PhD students in History at Queen’s), and our conversation veered towards our favourite spots on the Queen’s campus. So many of these spots were ones I had been meaning to visit but haven’t gotten around too, and there were some I didn’t even know existed! I quickly got out my pen and began jotting them down throughout the conversation, and soon I had a pretty impressive list of interesting spots on the Queen’s campus. As history-inclined individuals, this was reflected in their choices as many of these spots have historical significance. I’ve added them here but I know this isn’t an exhaustive list! Please tell me in the comments what other spots at Queen’s we all should know about, whether they’re just quiet places you like to go to for studying or intriguing corners for any reason!
Miller Museum of Geology, Miller Hall, 36 Union Street
Free entry, this is truly a hidden gem at Queen’s filled with many actual gems. The Miller Museum of Geology contains a vast collection of rocks, minerals and fossils, and once a year they even have a “Annual Gem and Mineral Sale” where you can get your hands on you own gemstones, minerals or fossils!
Museum of Health Care, 32 George Street
Located right next to the Kingston General Hospital in a building that used to be a residence for nursing students in 1901, this museum is also free to enter and offers intriguing insights into the history of health in Canada. Their collection of medical objects is fairly extensive so feel free to take a look at their website as well to get a better idea of the objects they have. They even have a full iron lung on display, which was often used in the 20th century by those suffering from polio and unable to breathe for themselves.
Rembrandts at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 36 University Avenue
You may be aware that we have the Agnes Etherington Art Centre right on campus, offering a number of beautiful exhibits, but did you know that they own three paintings by renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn? That’s even more impressive when you know that there are only six authenticated Rembrandts in public galleries in Canada in total, half of them being in the Agnes on our campus. The most recent addition to the collection is the one seen in the centre in the above photo, Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo (1658), that was gifted to the art centre in 2015 by the collectors Alfred and Isabel Bader.
Fireplace Room and the Harry Potter Room, Stauffer Library and Douglas Library
These two I’ve put together in one section as they’re both great study locations that are equally inspiring and cozy due to their architecture. The fireplace place room is on the 3rd floor of Stauffer and with it’s many windows and decorative fireplaces, it’s a slightly more comfortable place to study than the study carrels you’ll find in the rest of Stauffer. Douglas’ Reading Room with it’s stained glass windows, soaring ceilings and hanging lights gives you the feel that you’re in a Reading Room in Hogwarts and might make your studying experience a bit more magical.
Queen’s University Conservatory/Phytotron, Biosciences Complex, 116 Barrie Street
Did you know that Queen’s has a greenhouse? The Phytotron contains six different climates, and a number of growth chambers to maintain specific plant growing conditions. Their conservatory has over 150 tropical plants, and is an incredible place to visit, particularly in the winter when everything is grey and you are in desperate need of some heat and colourful flowers to brighten your day!
Government Documents and the Map Library in the basement of Stauffer Library, 101 Union Street
Located in the basement of Stauffer Library, this is a section of the library that you may not know about if you don’t need to access maps. But it’s a very quiet place to study, and contains many rare historical maps from throughout history.
Stirling Hall Exhibits, 64 Bader Lane
As an Art History student it’s a very rare occasion that I would step inside Stirling Hall, Queen’s Physics building, but on the tip of the History graduates students I spoke with, I went by and found an extensive exhibit of physic related artifacts from an original superheterodyne receiver used in radio astronomy (pictured above) to a quartz spectograph from 1921. Not only that but the Arthur B. McDonald Research Institute has recently launched and the visitor centre is located in Stirling. It offers a virtual reality tour through space, and will allow you to experience a solar storm.
WWII Memorial Room, JDUC Building, 99 University Avenue
Located on the first floor of the JDUC, the WWII Memorial Room commemorates the 351 students and alumni from Queen’s who died in WWII. The room contains 7 oil paintings by Canadian artist Marion Long, intricate stained glass windows, and a quote running around the room from Wordsworth saying “We must be free or die who speak the tongue that Shakespeare spake/The faith and morals hold which Milton held.” To get into the room, you must ask to be let in by the Student Life Centre, but it really is a beautiful spot to visit.
Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), 280 Queen’s University Road, RR #1, Elgin, Ontario
Located on the shore of Lake Opinicon, this secret spot isn’t quite on campus. QUBS is a research station that has access to vast acres of land and supports a variety of students doing research on entomology, social studies, forest pathology etc.
Queen’s Observatory, Ellis Hall, 58 University Ave
Queen’s built their first observatory in the mid-1800s, and the current one is now located on top of Ellis Hall with a 14-inch telescope in the dome. The exciting thing about this hidden gem is that the observatory offers public tours with an open house once every month and they often have public talks as well! Check out their website for more information!
And that’s it from me for now! Do let me know if I’m missing anything important, and that’s the last Gradifying post from us for the next couple of months as we take a brief hiatus. Have a wonderful summer!