Glore Psychiatric Museum – St. Joseph, Missouri - Atlas Obscura
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St. Joseph, Missouri

Glore Psychiatric Museum

The history of the treatment of mental illness, illustrated in all its gory detail, and housed in an asylum. 

Located in St. Joseph, Missouri the Glore Psychiatric Museum depicts the 130-year history of the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2 and the overall evolution of the treatment of mental illness. The museum is named for George Glore who worked for the Missouri Department of Mental Health for most of his 41-year career. A history buff, Glore worked with staff and patients to create replicas of 16th, 17th and 18th century treatment devices. Hospital officials later encouraged Glore to expand the exhibit into what we see today.

While the original 1874 building is now used as part of the city’s prison, four floors of a more recent section of the asylum, along with the once fully operational morgue, now house the museum collection. The collection consists of actual equipment, full size replicas and dioramas. Highlights include lobotomy instruments, the Wheel, a wooden treadmill device, and the Tranquilizer Chair created by Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and founder of America’s oldest operating theater.

The museum also includes art done by patients over the years. The art consists of traditional paint on canvas as well as the more bizarre, such as an arrangement of objects swallowed by a patient.

Know Before You Go

From I-29 take exit 47 toward I-29 N. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for St.Joseph. Turn left at Frederick Ave. Destination will be on the left.