Kirkbride Buildings Blog

May 23rd, 2011

Worcester State Hospital Exhibit

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.

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  1. Chris May 23, 2011, 9:36 pm

    The 9-5 hours of most DMH/Mad Rights events drives me crazy. And its usually poorly advertised to boot.

  2. Ethan May 23, 2011, 10:22 pm

    Yes, this exhibit definitely seems to have been pretty poorly advertised. I can’t believe I missed the opening. It’s in a pretty out of the way location too. Still, I’d bet there’s no money in the DMH budget for this and it’s all volunteer work, so you can’t complain too much.

  3. WSH May 25, 2011, 9:19 am

    Man I really wish I lived closer to the area. I think it is cool they are at least preserving the memory of the place in some way. I just hope this isn’t their easy out to say something along the lines of, “the buildings can’t be saved, but at least we did this little exhibit”.

  4. WSH May 26, 2011, 9:12 am

    Ethan, where is your photo in this blog post from? I really like it and I’ve never seen it before.

  5. Ethan May 31, 2011, 10:09 pm

    I lifted that image from the Mass HHS blog post linked to at the end of my post. It’s a piece of artwork from the hospital. I’m not sure, but I imagine it usually hangs in one of the newer buildings.

  6. Shala July 26, 2011, 11:29 am

    Thanks for posting about this exhibit. I finally had a chance to visit it yesterday. It’s relatively small — the entire exhibit would fit in the hall of an average sized house, not a feeling I’m used to. But packed with information and more tactile than most exhibits. They don’t mind if you want to flip through the Baptismal Register from the 1940s, the Trustee Records, the Morgue Box, or the scrapbook made by the occupational therapy group in 1933. If you have the time to read through everything (or even just most things), you can find a lot of interesting tidbits about asylum life here.

    Also, thought you’d like to know that they have extended the exhibition. It will now run through the end of August.

  7. Sydney October 24, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Does anyone know when this particular painting was made? I am trying to determine of Lowell Hall was constructed prior to 1918. From another site, I read comments from someone who said her grandmother was in Lowell in the 1890s but I need something more to document this. A date on this painting would be LOVELY! Thanks! Sydney

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