Last stop on the cross-countr(ies) tour!

Stop 15: Indiana Medical History Museum

It might seem a bit *off* to end a month-long asylum museum journey with a medical history museum but don’t let the name fool you! The Indiana Medical History Museum is located in the Pathology Building of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane (later: Central State Hospital). It was a FABULOUS way to end the trip!

First, I made it in time to take the weekly tour of their medicinal plant garden. The garden (part of which is pictured below) is maintained by Master Gardeners from Purdue University and contains a really diverse collection of plants. The tour was great: it combined a mixture of the histories of medicine and botany. If you’re interested, the IMHM has put together a book that details the medicinal properties of their plants that you can download as a pdf from their website.

Next I headed inside for a tour of the building. I ended up on a private tour! It was great – my tour guide Brian was incredibly knowledgeable and entertained all of my incessant questions and tangents. It turns out that the 19-room building was opened in 1896 and was turned into a museum shortly after it closed in 1960 – so things are still located wherever they were left! We started in the lecture room – a classic auditorium style medical lecture hall. Next we moved to the autopsy room, complete with original autopsy table. Other rooms included a histology room, chemistry room, records room, pathologist’s office, photography room, reception room, and the anatomical museum. Each room also included photos of what the room looked like during the early years of the building – it was shocking how much was still identical!

I also got to see a display of a physician’s office from the area that is located in the “Dead House” (i.e. the old ice house where they used to keep the deceased prior to burial).

The stop was completely worth the detour – it was really nice to end the trip on a high note!


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