March 17, 2009

Glore Psychiatric Museum - St. Joseph, MO

This weekend the Yellow Brick Road Trip was joined by my bestest best friend in the whole wide world - Anna. She has known me through all my travels and took part of her spring break to join me for a trip to St. Joseph to see the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

The Glore Psychiatric Museum used to be a state lunatic asylum but now patients rooms are full of exhibits rather than troubled people. Mannequins are used to show different treatments of the past, the ancient past and the present. The mannequins themselves are freaky. Some are faceless white statues, others are relics from department stores in the fifties. They are chipped, cracked, decaying and barely holding together. Seeing them strapped in old straight jackets and restraints with their faces peeling off is just plain creepy!

Fun fact: Lobotomies were discovered when a guy got a railroad spike through the head and lived!

One floor was devoted to medieval and outdated methods of dealing with mental illness. These ranged from the bizarre to the cruel to the "oh my god, I can't believe they freaking did that!" There was the lunatic box, an upright coffin where a crazy person was locked in. There was a surprise bath where a person fell through a trapdoor into a pool of cold water - resulting in injury and death more often than sanity. There was a spinning cage, a human sized hamster exercise wheel, dioramas of stomping and bleeding patients, and even a mannequin tied to a stake as an example of witches burned at the stake. (A sidenote: Tom Cruise should really look at this exhibit, maybe then he won't be so opposed to psychiatric medication. Or we could just put him in the exercise box so he never makes another movie).

We also learned about the history of the hospital itself. One interesting story they told was of a patient who was lost in the system for years! Her family never found her until after her death. A doctor requested her records after hearing about the case to review her treatment. In an ironic twist, those records were then lost for eleven years! They lost the patient, found her and then lost her records!

The museum was amazing! Really freaky but really awesome!

Total Distance Traveled: 146 miles
Total Trip Time: 5 hours
Soundtrack: "You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country, But Not the Red Out of Her Neck" Playlist


  1. There's a psychiatric museum? I have got to go there someday.

  2. I wonder what kind of life the guy with the railroad spike through his head ended up having...?

    My guess: Not a good one.

  3. Great post, that's an interesting -- if disturbing -- museum!

  4. "Tom Cruise should really look at this exhibit, maybe then he won't be so opposed to psychiatric medication."

    Thanks for clarifying what the medication is.
    I am sure Tom knows of the past methods of psychiatry.
    Medication to control misbehaving people, medication for life because once ill, always ill.
    And a 25 year shorter life.
    and the Pharma Co makes Billions of dollars.
    and slavery was made illegal