Museum in MS’s house

Stop 13: Julaine Farrow Museum

The Julaine Farrow Museum holds artifacts related to the Winnebago State Hospital. It’s located in the Medical Superintendent’s house on the property of the hospital (now the Winnebago Mental Health Institute) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Museum is only open for a few hours on Thursdays. It was packed! I actually found it really interesting to see who was viewing the collection: two separate groups of medical students, a past employee and her family, and a family from the community.

The Museum consists of two floors of artifacts and photos. The main floor is set up with various collections and pieces of furniture spread out throughout the rooms while the second floor is more “themed”. The rooms upstairs include a surgery room, hydrotherapy treatments (pictured top), the Medical Superintendent’s bedroom, and a pharmacy.

Even though it was crowded I did get a chance to speak with the tour guide, Paul Janty, and buy a copy of the history book: turned out that Mr. Janty was the author so he signed my copy 🙂

On the way out of town I stopped by Asylum Point Park on Asylum Bay (pictured left). I had noticed on Google maps beforehand that the water surrounding the area is called “North Asylum Bay” and “South Asylum Bay” so I figured it was worth a stop. The cemetery was also supposed to be in the area but I never did find it (much of the area is an environmental preserve so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to go looking off the main road). I have to figure out why the park and bays have “Asylum” in their title – I thought the institution had the title “Hospital” from its opening in 1873 so it seems odd?


2 Responses to Museum in MS’s house

  1. Heather Bradshaw says:

    Hi. I just read about your visit to the Winnebago Mental Health Institution. I have never been to the museum but I do live in Oshkosh and I know Asylum Park well. I take my dogs running there. Tonight I actually came accross the “cemetary”. I would never have know it was a cemetary until I saw two pillars and a sign that said WMHI Cemetary and it had the dates 1873-1972. Funny thing is… I never knew there was a cemetary there and there are no head stones or anything like that. Just a field. I have tried to look up the history of the cemetary online and have found absolutely nothing on it. I noticed that you said that you received a book on the history of the institution, so I was wondering what it all said about the cemetery? I am so curious about it and quite honestly I am creeped out about it because it seems like they are trying to keep the cemetery a secret. Please respond back if you have time. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    Heather Bradshaw

    • No luck yet in terms of finding any information about the cemetery in the book I picked up when I was in town – I’ll keep my eyes open incase I do come across some info from another source.

      I doubt that the cemetery is being kept as a secret though – more likely it has been largely forgotten than anything else. Patient cemeteries at other institutions tend not to have any grave markers – or, if they did, these markers have since been lost, damaged, or removed.

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