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Glore Psychiatric Museum
3408 Frederick Avenue (One Mile West Of I-29, Exit 47)
St. Joseph , Missouri 64506
816-364-1209 or 800-530-8866
website

The Psychiatric Museum is next to the former Missouri State Lunatic Hospital #2 (as it was known in the 1800's), parts of which are now a prison, which is all too fitting)

The multi-story facility is full of the kind of squirm inducing exhibits of what passed for mental health care up until far too recently. Mental health care, or rather, torture, given the restraint cages, the "water treatments," the electro shock therapy and even the info that patients were sat in straight back or rocking chairs (for female patients) all day long, encouraged to sit quietly and isolated for decades. (Now they are placed into groups because social interaction has proven healing, fancy that.)

The reasons for applying these "treatments" were so varied and, in many cases, innocuous that it made the horror of them all the more horrific. One ice-cold dunking tank was said to have been used on people who ate too much. We licked the barbeque sauce off our lips and walked away quickly.

There were some stunning examples of patient art therapy, including an incredible piece of fabric with embroidered sentences and words all over it, in random colors, sometimes nearly coherent phrases, other times neologisms, all done by a schizophrenic patient who worked out her frustration in this manner. It was pure folk art and ought to be in a major art museum.

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