The Glore Psychiatric Museum was established in 1967 in St. Joseph, MO, by a long-time worker of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, George Glore. Once known as the State Lunatic Asylum no. 2, the museums hold exhibits of old treatment devices for the insane. Most of these treatments were ineffective because as a society, people were still trying to figure out how to treat mental health problems. The museum holds the history of the old asylum as a testament of how important, yet terribly ineffective we were at handling mental health.
This facility originally began as the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2. This hospital was part of the Kirkbride Plan, a series of identical hospitals all over the nation that housed the insane, criminally or otherwise. The State Lunatic Asylum no. 2 opened in 1874 and was initially able to house 25 patients. Soon afterwards it expanded to house 250 patients. By the 1950s, it had grown to house 3000 occupants; during this time its name changed to the St. Joseph State Hospital.
In 1966, an employee of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, George Glore, made replicas of many tools used for treatments in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. What sparked the creation of these tools, was his desire to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week. These collections of tools formed the basis for the Glore Psychiatric Museum, which was established the following year in 1967.
The Glore Psychiatric Museum tells a story of how America was concerned with public mental health, but unable to adequately treat it. The exhibits explore how mental health treatment has evolved over the years. Many treatments used on patients would be considered unethical by today’s standards, such as isolation chambers, and inducing patients into diabetic comas.