Glore Psychiatric Museum

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Glore Psychiatric Museum
3406 Frederick Avenue
St. Joseph, MO
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Tel: 816-232-8471
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Take a virtual wander through the Glore via this Flickr set.
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St. Joseph, MO: Define "crazy"

Glore Psychiatric Museum

Most things on view at the Glore Museum—arguably the most comprehensive collection of artifacts from the evolution of mental health care in the U.S.—fall into one of two categories, and we're not sure which is more grim.

There are the case studies: The Glore chronicles the 130-year history of State Lunatic Asylum No. 2. (now the St. Joseph State Hospital), and you can peer into the minds of some of its patients: A TV that stopped working, because one man stuffed it full of hundreds of letters (he either thought it was a mailbox, or was trying to reach some of the people he saw onscreen). The contents of one woman's stomach (she'd eaten close to 1500 nails, buttons, thimbles, what have you). The thoughts of one schizophrenic patient, turned out in tiny, chaotic embroidery that covers a bedsheet. And so on.

Then there are the treatments, which offer a sobering look at how little even the greatest medical minds of yore knew about mental illness: Chairs into which patients were strapped for bloodletting, wooden restraining cages designed to drive out evil spirits as the patient thrashed about inside.

All the more reason to tip your hat to museum founder and curator George Glore, who devoted his life to redefining how mental illness is perceived and reducing the stigma surrounding its treatment.

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