Typically, “Just 4 Fun” highlights regional attractions such as the Weston Brewing Company, the Moon Marble Company or the Pony Express National Museum. Bor-ing! Now, a museum that highlights the archaic, Guantanamoesque treatment methods employed by the pre-DSM psychiatry profession…that’s entertainment!
Here’s a bit of historical info on the Glore Museum:
The Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the 130-year history of what was once known as the “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2.” The Museum uses full-sized replicas, interactive displays, audio-visuals, artifacts, and documents to illustrate the history of the treatment of mental illness. The museum is recognized as “one of the 50 most unusual Museums in the country.” It is also featured in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the USA and Canada.”
The Glore Psychiatric Museum is named for its founder George Glore, who spent most of his 41-year career with the Missouri Department of Mental Health nurturing its collections into arguably the largest and best single exhibition explaining the evolution of mental health care in the United States. His ultimate goal was to reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric treatment for patients, their families, and their communities.
Read on to view images from this slideshow on what offenses the disciples of Benjamin Rush hath wrought!
GPM visitors can begin their tour by visiting the gift shop and scoring some hip swag – unfortunately, they were out of thorazine-drip coozy hats:
Below is a replica of a “restraint cage,” a rather unpleasant patient treatment tool. According to the signage, the original piece of equipment was being “used as a potato bin” when it was discovered. It could also be the Least-Effective Vampire Bed Ever.
In days of yore, women afflicted by mental illness were often branded as witches and forced to undergo grueling, macabre tests to prove or disprove their supernatural associations. Judging by the display mannequin’s supermodel pose, a true witch would vogue before burning.
The sign that accompanies this particular exhibit muses on social climes that could have encouraged such persecution:
Text of the first paragraph:
Today it is almost unbelievable that sober and pious townspeople could gather in the village square and cheer the burning or torturing of a woman so demented as obviously not to know what she was doing. Yet only three and four hundred years ago people not only cheered but felt that in such practices they were doing their sacred duty.
Hmmmm. This sounds somewhat familiar…
“(A) woman so demented as obviously not to know what she was doing.” Yep, sounds about right. Although let’s not completely rule out witchcraft here.
And no, this is not a KU exercise machine. This strange device, the Hollow Wheel, was apparently another high-quality health care instrument.
In the late 18th century, German psychiatrist Johann Reil (1758-1813) invented a therapeutic hollow wheel. The patient was placed inside and could either remain stationary or run forward or backward. Theoretically, this activity would engender goal-directed behavior, with the hope that such forced activity on the patient’s part would take him out of his hallucination-filled world and into reality.
Except for any patients who believed they originated from a race of hamster people. As we know, a certain modern-day theocrat would not approve of that notion.
In all seriousness, the facility — which seems both fascinating and disturbing — does serve a real purpose in highlighting how far society has come in how it views and treats mental illness. While there are still significant mental health parity issues and lingering social stigmas related to various afflictions, modern psychiatry is now far better equipped to serve the needs of patients, despite what Tom Cruise believes.