Center for the History of Psychology

24 November 2010

Exciting Developments in Akron, Ohio

I finally had an opportunity to get down to see the new building where the Center for the History of Psychology has opened in Akron, Ohio! The Center is the expansion of the Archives of the History of Psychology which was held until this past August in the basement of one of the University of Akron‘s buildings.

The new location is a beautiful old brick building that dates to 1915. Thus far the Center occupies the basement and first floor of the building with plans to continue to expand to the three additional upper floors in the upcoming years. A museum featuring some of the highlights from the collection is open to the public on the first floor. The displays include apparatus from various areas within psychology, as well as artifacts and photographs from some of the most famous experiments in psychology’s history: the Bandura Bobo doll, Milgram’s “shock box”, the IQ zoo, the Clarks’ doll experiment, the Stanford prison experiment, Skinner’s air crib, and more. I was also particularly pleased to see the inclusion of asylum history with a letter from Thomas Story Kirkbride, maps, drawings, and a magneto-electric machine. Read the rest of this entry »


Tour Recap

8 August 2010

I mapped my route (roughly) from the past month: 15 asylum museum-related stops in 4 provinces and 4 states!


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

8 August 2010

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.

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Museum in MS’s house

8 August 2010

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.

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Last *official* appointment

8 August 2010

Stop 11: North Dakota State Hospital Museum

Last appointment was at the North Dakota State Hospital Museum in Jamestown, North Dakota. The hospital’s history dates to 1885 – before North Dakota was even a state!

I had a great visit to the Museum. I got to meet Dr. Rosalie Etherington who organized and runs the museum (in addition to her position as Clinical Director of the hospital). It was not only a very interesting collection that included some items I haven’t seen elsewhere yet (ex. original morgue table) but I also got to hear about the history of the museum’s development and where it’s going next. Spoiler alert: keep an eye on their website for historical documents and photos that will be scanned and posted in the near future!

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Last Canadian Stop

30 July 2010

Stop 10: City of North Battleford Archives & Sask Hospital Museum

Started this morning with an appointment at the City of North Battleford Archives (luckily they were unaffected by the recent flash flooding here). They have a collection that was donated by a woman who grew up on the Saskatchewan Hospital grounds and attended the school that was established for the children of employees. She had also gone on to work at the Hospital as a nurse. The collection includes both her reminiscences of her childhood on the Hospital grounds as well as an extensive photo album that she put together – it highlights both events and daily life at the Hospital as well as changes in the growing cities of Battleford and North Battleford.

I had found a reference to a museum at the still-operating Saskatchewan Hospital earlier this summer but had not been able to get ahold of anyone prior to arriving in North Battleford yesterday. I knew that they had a history book on sale so I decided to take a chance and just show up.

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Museum & Tour of Forensic Hospital

27 July 2010

Stop 7: Riverview Hospital Museum, Grounds & Forensic Psychiatric Hospital

[The photo really doesn’t do the property justice – it was taken out my car window as I drove past the back of one of the buildings – I was advised that security has begun confiscating people’s cameras so I didn’t want to risk it – too many stops to go on this trip so I can’t risk losing my camera now!]

Continuing from my last post, BC’s asylum/mental hospital system had migrated to Coquitlam by the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1904 the province purchased 1,000 acres of land. The institution (known originally as The Hospital for the Mind, later Essondale, and currently Riverview Hospital) began receiving patients in 1913.

With 244 acres remaining from the original 1,000 Riverview is slated to close in June of 2012. What will happen to the buildings still on the property seems to be unknown for the moment – and this includes the fate of the Riverview Hospital Museum.

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