Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Indiana Medical History Museum
I just returned from a week-long roadtrip to give my lecture in Indianapolis and then return, via Lexington Kentucky, to Brooklyn.
The lecture went well; people seemed genuinely interested in the topic and asked really great questions. I also had the pleasure of meeting fellow anatomical-art bloggers Vanessa Ruiz and Janet Chao. Another highlight--Gary Schnitz, who introduced my lecture, alerted the conference attendees to the existence of a local museum called the Indiana Medical History Museum which, based on his very enthusiastic description, we took a detour to visit.
The museum (pictured above) was rather amazing. Housed in the remaining building of what had been a large psychiatric hospital complex in the 19th century (then known as the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane), the museum represents (this per the brochure) "the beginning of scientific psychiatry and modern medicine while the building itself is the oldest free standing pathology facility in the nation and is on the National Register of Historic Places." The museum is housed in the 19 room Old Pathology Building, built in 1896, and contains 3 clinical laboratories, a 100 seat amphitheater, and a photography studio. Visiting the museum feels a bit like time travel, as it still contains original books, photography studio equipment, paintings, fixtures, pathological samples, signage, furniture, and more. The experience provided a kind of haunted, experience of 19th century psychiatry.
The museum website seems to no longer be operational (above information taken from their brochure) but you can check out the museum's Flickr photostream. I also took a ton of photos, from which the above are drawn; you can view the rest here.