Could you swallow a nail? How about 453 of them? One patient in St. Joseph’s State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, established 1874, did just that. This collection is one of many intriguing exhibits that earned the Glore Psychiatric Museum recognition as “One of the 50 most unusual museums in the country” and mentions in national publications and on television networks including The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, PBS, and The Science Channel.


  • The award-winning Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the 145-year history of the state hospital and centuries of mental health treatment. It is located on the adjoining grounds of the original state hospital.

  • Surgical tools, treatment equipment, furnishings, nurse uniforms, personal notes, and other items from the hospital are on display.

  • Fascinating artwork from hospital patients will give you a glimpse into the minds of those who suffered with mental illness.

  • The embroidered words of a mute schizophrenic speak volumes.

  • Pottery, paintings, drawings, and other artwork on display gave patients both therapy and an outlet to express their pain, joy, and hopes.


The original ‘State Lunatic Asylum No. 2’ opened in November 1874 with 250 patients on land located east of the City of St. Joseph. Dr. George C. Catlett, the hospital’s first Superintendent, explained that the hospital was dedicated “to the noble work of reviving hope in the human heart and dispelling the portentous clouds that penetrate the intellects of minds diseased.” In 1968, George Glore, an employee of the St. Joseph State Hospital, helped construct a series of full-size replicas of primitive 17th, 18th, and 19th century treatment devices for a Mental Health Awareness Week open house. Those exhibits impressed the hospital officials and sparked the idea to create the Glore Psychiatric Museum. Today, George’s treatment device replicas remain an integral part of the museum’s exhibits.

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Official Glore Psychiatric Museum