THE  INDIANA MEDICAL HISTORY MUSEUM

3045 West Vermont Street      |      Indianapolis, IN 46222      |       (317) 635-7329

OPERATING HOURS

Wednesday 10:00 - 4:00

Thursday    10:00 - 4:00 

Friday    10:00 - 4:00 

Saturday    10:00 - 4:00 


Visits are by guided tour only.

Tours start on the hour. 

Tours last approximately one hour.

Last tour begins at 3:00.  

PLAN YOUR VISIT

Just show up on the hour -- you do not need to make a reservation unless you have a group of 6 or more.

GROUP TOURS


Courtesy of Tom Mueller Photography, LLC                


LATEST NEWS

See more news updates or view our newsletters here.

7/9/2019: Rehumanizing the IMHM Specimen Collection featured on Fox 59 News.

7/8/2019: More coverage of our Rehumanizing the IMHM Specimen Collection exhibit from John Russell for the Indianapolis Business Journal healthcare blog The Dose.

7/2/2019: Our project to "rehumanize" the specimens in our collection was featured in Smithsonian Magazine online. Check it out here!

6/21/2019: Many thanks to Victoria Ratliff and Haley Carney from TheStatehouseFile.com for their recent visit! Their article can be viewed here.

6/7/2019: Listen to IMHM's Sarah Halter and Norma Erickson talk to host Nelson Price on Hoosier History Live! Aired on 6/1/2019. Click here for the recording.

4/16/2019: The Indiana Medical History Museum is featured on today's blog from The Rest is History. Check out the post here.

3/25/2019: Wednesday, March 27th at 8pm, IMHM will be featured on the Travel Channel's Mysteries at the Museum. 

3/8/2019: Sarah Halter, executive director of IMHM, shared the story of Dr. William Fletcher and his reform efforts at Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane in the 1880s on Hot Pepper History presented by the Indiana Historical Society.

2/12/2019: This is a wonderful tribute to a very special person. Narcissa Hocker was an incredible woman and a great supporter of the Indiana Medical History Museum. Click here to ready the full tribute from ASCLS.

2/9/2019: Indianapolis and the Indiana Medical History Museum have also been included in the National Educators Association's  5 Offbeat Ideas for an On-budget Vacation in 2019. Read the full article here.

1/22/2019: Indianapolis made Texas Lifestyle Magazine's list of 19 Places to Go in 2019, and IMHM and our Medicinal Plant Garden are must sees!

10/12/2018: Many thanks to Fox59 and Lindy Thackston for visiting this week and highlighting IMHM and Central State Hospital for Your Town Friday. See the video here.

10/12/2018: Congrats to IMHM Board member and volunteer Norma Erickson on the unveiling of a new historical marker commemorating Lincoln Hospital. See Will Higgins' Indy Star article.

5/18/2018: The Indiana Medical History Museum is in good company in Forbes' article "6 Great Reasons to Visit America's Most Underrated City Right Now." Click here for the full article.

3/28/2018: The Indiana Medical History Museum is among 7 Reasons Indy is Ideal for Your Next Family Vacation in this blog post from Stephanie Black at Visit Indiana.

3/7/2018: Exciting things are happening this week at IMHM! We're gearing up to replace all three of our cracked and leaky skylights thanks to a Heritage Support Grant from the  Indiana Historical Society made possible by Lilly Endowment, Inc.

2/16/2018: On Saturday, February 10th, our very own Norma Erickson was a guest on Hoosier History Live with Nelson Price talking about African American health care in Indiana during the early 20th century. Listen to a podcast of the show here.


 


Voices from Central State was a Fall 2016 event series that spotlighted the patient perspective on life at Indiana's flagship mental institution, Central State Hospital (1848-1994).  Click here for more information.

We're currently planning a continuation of the Voices project, an initiative to gather stories from people with connections to Central State Hospital, including former patients, workers, neighbors, and families.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Sarah Halter at shalter@imhm.org.


CAPITAL CAMPAIGN

The Old Pathology Building is in trouble!

Roof damage and severe water intrusion threaten this historic building and its collections.

Learn more about our Capital Campaign to save the building and protect the future of medical history in Indiana.

 

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN

The Old Pathology Building is in trouble!

Roof damage and severe water intrusion threaten this historic building and its collections.

Learn more about our Capital Campaign to save the building and protect the future of medical history in Indiana.

MAKE A DONATION

Help us to fulfill our mission to interpret and preserve 

the Old Pathology Building through tours, exhibits, and programs.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS AT IMHM 

for more information, visit our events page


Please join us as we unveil a new exhibit 

Rehumanizing the IMHM Specimen Collection

Tuesday, July 9th 

5 to 7pm

Refreshments will be served at this open house event. Drop in any time between 5 and 7pm to view the exhibit and read the human stories behind the IMHM specimen collection.

ABOUT THE PROJECT: In recent years, we at the Indiana Medical History Museum have worked to expand our focus beyond the science and technology, beyond the doctors and administrators who worked at Central State Hospital, and beyond the architecture of this incredible historic laboratory facility, to draw more attention to the patients themselves and their experiences at the hospital.

There is certainly stigma attached to mental illness today, but in the past this sometimes ran much deeper in society. Patients at Central State Hospital and others like it across the country were frequently ostracized by their families and communities. They were sometimes mistreated. They were isolated here from their families and even to some extent from each other within the hospital's grounds. Especially in the hospital's first century, they were marginalized, ignored, and hidden away in life, with few willing to speak up for them and no real voice of their own.

When permission was granted, autopsies were performed in the Pathological Department of the hospital on patients who passed away there. The doctors were studying physical causes of mental diseases to better understand them and develop more effective treatments. Many specimens were preserved for future research and as teaching aids for medical students and practicing physicians who came here to learn about the research being done. These specimens still reside here in the Anatomical Museum.

Since they were preserved, these specimens have been displayed with very clinical descriptions of tumors and lesions and other physical damage to the tissue. They highlighted the things that the pathologist at the time felt were important for medical students and physicians to know and recognize.

The stories the old labels tell are not human stories. They are stories of disease and disorder told from a very clinical perspective. There is certainly value in that, intellectually and scientifically. But they inadvertently take away the humanity of the individual represented. 

When the Old Pathology Building was a functioning laboratory with scientific goals, those labels made sense. But in 2019, as we celebrate our 50th year as a museum striving to serve the greater public, it is time to change this interpretation. We want them to be remembered in death for who they were and not for their tumor, their lesions, their traumatic brain injury, or their congenital defect.

We hope you will join us for this unveiling to learn more about the former patients of Central State Hospital as people. Who were they and what was their life like before institutionalization? What impact did their symptoms have on their daily lives? And how, given advancements in medicine and psychiatry, might their diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment be different today?



Copyright © 2017 Indiana Medical History Museum

3045 Vermont Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222   (317) 635-7329

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