Hospital Staff, 1939Glore Psychiatric Museum

NOTE: Some of the Glore Psychiatric Museum exhibits may not be appropriate for young children.

Could you swallow a nail? How about 453 of them? One patient in St. Joseph’s State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, established 1874, did just that. This collection is one of many intriguing exhibits that earned the Glore Psychiatric Museum recognition as “One of the 50 most unusual museums in the country” and mention in national publications and television programs including The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, PBS, and The Science Channel.

  • The award-winning Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the 130-year history of the state hospital and centuries of mental health treatment. It is located on the adjoining grounds of the original state hospital.
  • Surgical tools, treatment equipment, furnishings, nurse uniforms, personal notes, and other items from the hospital are on display.
  • Coffin-like confinement boxes, a dunking bath, and other primitive mental health treatments will make you grateful for modern medicine.
  • Fascinating artwork from hospital patients will give you a glimpse into the minds of those who suffered with mental illness.
  • The needlework-stitched words of a mute schizophrenic speak volumes.
  • Pottery, paintings, drawings, and other artwork on display gave patients both therapy and an outlet to express their pain, joy, and hopes.

NurseStairsThe original ‘State Lunatic Asylum No. 2’ opened in November of 1874 with 25 patients on land located east of the City of St. Joseph. Dr. George C. Catlett, the hospital’s first Superintendent, explained that the hospital was dedicated “to the noble work of reviving hope in the human heart and dispelling the portentous clouds that penetrate the intellects of minds diseased.”In 1968, George Glore, an employee of the St. Joseph State Hospital, helped construct a series of full-size replicas of primitive 16th, 17th, and 18th century treatment devices for a Mental Health Awareness Week open house. Those exhibits impressed the hospital officials and sparked the idea to create the Glore Psychiatric Museum. Today, George’s treatment device replicas remain an integral part of the museum’s exhibits.

Read more here about the Glore Hospital History.

New temporary exhibit, “Gray Matters,” opened March 28, 2014:  The Glore Psychiatric Museum, 3406 Frederick Ave., hosted artists Marguerite Perret and Bruce Scherting who presented an introductory program on “Gray Matters” on March 28, 2014.   “Gray Matters” is the focus of a traveling exhibit they created that will be featured at the Glore Psychiatric Museum.  The exhibit challenges the historical understanding and stigmas surrounding mental illness.

This temporary exhibit will be available for visitors to tour at no additional admission fee at the Glore Psychiatric Museum, 3406 Frederick Avenue, through the spring and summer.  Please call 816-232-8471 or visit www.stjosephmuseum.org for more information.

View image gallery here.

Read “the Lou” blog:  Recently guests Christy Schee, Kriss Miller, and Lou Flanders visited the Glore Psychiatric Museum and have shared their thoughts in this whimsical and enlightening blog  “Where’s the Lou: Psych Out“.