Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for May, 2011

Worcester State Hospital Exhibit

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Worcester State Hospital
It’s too bad I just found out about this (since the opening has already taken place), but I’m sure you’ll still be pleased to learn about an exhibition of objects and photographs from Worcester State Hospital which is currently on display at the Aldrich Heritage Gallery in Whitinsville, Mass.  The exhibit will be shown until July 29th. Hours are 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday—which is tough luck for those that work 9-to-5, but what can you do? It’s free and open to the public, so if you don’t work during the day or can get the time off, check it out. Please report back here if you do! Thanks.

According to a blog post on the Massachusetts Health and Human Service Division’s website, the exhibit is a dry run for a display inside the new WSH hospital building. The final display will reportedly incorporate items from other Massachusetts psychiatric hospital campuses as well.

“When plans for the new hospital were finalized several years ago, a group of hospital and DMH staff, consumers, hospital board members and other stakeholders who are passionate about history and the historic nature of Massachusetts hospitals got together and began the work of collecting, archiving and cataloguing the innumerable historic artifacts of WSH and the Department’s other campuses. This project has evolved over the past several years and reflects current efforts to preserve the legacy of DMH and the history of psychiatric care in the Commonwealth. Plans are developing for many of these artifacts and the story they tell to be on display in the new hospital when it opens next year. In the meantime, DMH will be able to do a “dry run” of what this display might look like.”

From Historic DMH Showcase Commemorates Mental Health Awareness Month.

This Place Matters

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Fergus Falls RTC Demolition Proposal
To celebrate National Preservation Month (this year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Treasures”), there will be a meeting at the M State campus in Fergus Falls on Tuesday, May 24th. It starts at 6:00 PM in Legacy Hall. The event is sponsored by The Fergus Falls Heritage Preservation Commission and Friends of the Kirkbride. It is free and open to the public.

Part of the meeting will be devoted to the importance of saving and restoring historic buildings in general, and what others have done to restore and reuse historic structures. There will also be some discussion of the Fergus Falls Kirkbride building‘s historic significance. Among the scheduled speakers is Ray Minervini, the man who breathed new life into the Kirkbride building in Traverse City, Michigan.

Also worth noting is that the city of Fergus Falls has proposed a phased demolition of the former RTC property. Under the plan some newer additions to the main building, as well as some older separate structures, and the tunnels beneath the Kirkbride could be demolished as early as Summer 2012. The areas in question are marked in bright yellow in the image above. The city has also proposed breaking the property into smaller pieces so that developers interested in reusing only a portion of the Kirkbride (a single wing for example) may make proposals to do so. According to an article in the Fergus Falls Journal, “Parts of the Kirkbride that were not picked up by developers could tentatively then be torn down late in the 2012 construction season and into 2013.” Read the article here: City Gives Kirkbride One Last Chance.

The Electric Pencil’s Identity Revealed

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I thought it worth noting that a reader recently commented on my previous post about the Electric Pencil and provided a link to an article revealing the artist’s identity: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The piece also mentions that there will be a second edition of the Electric Pencil book.