Thursday, March 16, 2017

St. Elizabeths hospital exhibit at National Building Museum

Architecture of an Asylum: St Elizabeths 1852-2017
MARCH 25, 2017–JANUARY 15, 2018

I'm sure this will be a good exhibit and I plan to go see it. The hospital treated mentally-ill soldiers for much of the nineteenth century and there's a Civil War graveyard on the site.

St. Elizabeths had a historic collection, or museum, that was broken up in the 1990s with material going to the National Archives, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Howard University, and at least two other places.

Here's the Medical Museum's description of its holdings:

No finding aid,21 boxes, unarranged, inactive, unrestricted.
Material transferred when Saint Elizabeth's closed its museum due to being transferred from the federal government to the District of Columbia. Includes books, photographs,paintings, patient art, certificates, and pamphlets. Most photographs and paintings are portraits of staff. Objects also in Historical Collections.
Additional material transferred to the National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Howard University,Department of the Interior Museum, Department of Health and Human Services' SAMSUS, Smithsonian Institution Castle, National Archives, and the Octagon House.

The Octagon House is the architects society's museum and it got a large model of the hospital (over my objections).

Here's a short piece from the Washington City Paper on some of the Medical Museum's holdings:

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