Reading The Objects: Developing Online Personal Stories From Australia'S Museums Of Madness , 1870-1980

Grant number: LP0990564 | Funding period: 2009 - 2012

Completed

Abstract

Museum Victoria's Psychiatric Services Collection contains over 1,600 objects from mental hospitals that operated in the state between 1870 and 1980. It is one of the largest collections of its type in the world. As the relative merits of psychiatric institutionalization and community care remain controversial, making digitized images of all these objects available online, accompanied by expert historical commentaries, will not only throw light on the daily lives of patients and staff and the care offered in institutions now largely vanished, but it will also help promote a better informed public debate about this vital area of mental health policy.