This event series from the fall of 2016 spotlighted the patient perspective on life at Indiana's flagship mental institution, Central State Hospital (1848-1994). See below for more information about those past events.

We're continuing the Voices from Central State project with an online memory archive/forum, an initiative to share resources on the history of the hospital and its role in Indiana and to gather stories, photos, and memories from people with various connections to the hospital, including former patients, workers, neighbors, and families.

We have a prototype of this online forum ready and are working to make it a reality.

If you are interested in participating in the forum or would like to know more, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact Sarah Halter


August 26 and 27, 2016

7:00 both evenings 

$5 | Free for students | Registration required 

Then There Is No Need to Speak

A one-woman theatrical performance. Based on the 1886 memoir From Under the Cloud by Anna Agnew, a former patient at the Indiana Hospital for the Insane. 

Read the memoir here

The 60-minute performance will be followed by a short historical presentation and a talk-back session.

***Doors open at 6:30. Please plan arrive at least 15 minutes early to get seated before the performance begins.***

Written by Thomas Hummel

Directed by Terri Bourus

Starring Denise Jaeckel

Historical commentary provided by Kathleen Brian

September 26 and 27, 2016

6:00 both evenings

Free | Registration required

I Remember Jones: A Conversation with Nanny Vonnegut

The artist Nanny Vonnegut, daughter of the acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut, will read her maternal grandmother Riah Cox’s brief memoir, “I Remember Jones,” written about Cox's hospitalization at Central State in the 1940s.

Along with IUPUI professor of English Jane Schultz, Vonnegut will discuss her family, the history of mental health care, and the healing power of the arts. Vonnegut will be sharing some her own artwork (see image above, from her painting "Family Tree"), as well as family photographs.

 ***Doors open at 5:30. Please plan arrive at least 15 minutes early to get seated.***

Left: Nanette Vonnegut, "Family Tree"

November 10, 2016

Doors open at 6:00. Exhibit available before and after 6:30 panel discussion.

This event is part of the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival. 

Leaving Home

Exhibit opening and panel discussion on the closure of Indiana's Central State Hospital in 1994 and the current state of mental health care in Central Indiana.

The exhibit, based on patient-produced newsletters, will be on display at the Indiana Medical History Museum from November 10, 2016-March 2017.

Left: Photo courtesy of The Indianapolis Star

The 2016 Voices from Central State" programs were the product of a partnership between the Indiana Medical History Museum and the Medical Humanities & Health Studies Program at IUPUI. Assistance with the theatrical production of "Then There Is No Need to Speak" provided by Discover Near West Indy. Funding support was provided by IU's New Frontiers Program, Indiana Humanities, The Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

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