Glore Psychiatric Museum

3406 Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, MO 64506 - United States

816-232-8471

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A tour of the Glore Psychiatric Museum is an awe-inspiring experience. The Museum leads you through exhibits that illustrate the history and progress of mental health treatments. Housed in the medical, surgical, and admitting unit of the former St. Joseph State Hospital, the museum is one of only a few of its kind in the nation, making it a must-see.

Established in 1968 as a collection of displays for a St. Joseph State Hospital open house, the Glore Psychiatric Museum now presents over 10,000 items for viewing. The original displays were created by the museum’s namesake, George Glore, and are still a part of the collection. These exhibits give visitors a life-size visual of what mental health treatment devices looked like in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Glore, then the occupational therapist for the St. Joseph State Hospital, worked with his patients to create the original displays that tell the story of early treatments. Exhibits also share the history of what was once known as “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2” when it opened in St. Joseph in 1874. Donations from across the nation have gradually expanded the Glore Psychiatric Museum’s exhibits.

The exhibits include surgical tools, treatment equipment, and doctor’s personal notes. Patient artwork, such as pottery, paintings and needlework, is also on display to give visitors an idea of how patients faced their daily challenges and expressed themselves through their art. Exhibits include the contents removed from a patient’s stomach (such as nails, thimbles, and eating utensils) as well as a television set packed full of handwritten notes written by another patient.

All four floors of the museum are available for viewing, in addition to a section of the 1930s tunnels once used to transport food, laundry, supplies, and even patients between St. Joseph State Hospital buildings. The tunnel walls are covered with murals painted by patients between 1988 and 1990.

To gain a better understanding of mental illness and the evolution of its understanding and treatment, a tour of the Glore Psychiatric Museum is an enlightening, and unforgettable educational experience.

To find out more about the Glore Psychiatric Museum’s community events and/or plan a visit, visit the website

Exhibits

The award-winning Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the history of the state hospital and centuries of mental health treatment. It is located on the adjoining grounds of the original state hospital, which opened in 1874.

Surgical tools, treatment equipment, furnishings, nurse uniforms, personal notes, and other items from the hospital are on display.

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.

Check out the other St. Joseph Museums also participating in Museum Day.

Location

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.