18 February 2019

18th February 2015 - Mind Museum Public Opening

On 18th February 2015 there was an interview on BBC Radio 4 about the public opening of the Museum of the Mind in the grounds of Bethlem Hospital. You can still listen here (about 10 minutes into programme).... BBC Programme

The Official Opening by Grayson Perry was in March, a little after the press and public opening. Grayson said "... The work the gallery and museum do is of vital importance and will create a legacy for the understanding of mental health for years to come. For me art is obsession, voyage of discovery and therapy all rolled into one...."

The museum has a history of mental healthcare and treatment brightened up by art exhibitions related to mental health. On display is a wooden alms box where visitors who came to look round Bedlam could donate money towards the hospital. The interviewer suggests this was gawping but the curator added that the hospital was a charity back then, and it was a way to raise money. There is a display showing the changing ways that patients have been diagnosed and labelled and treated and portrayed over time.

Then to brighten it up are art works from past and present. There are works for instance by Richard Dadd, a well known artist, who murdered his father and was at Bethlem before moving on to Broadmoor. The first temporary exhibition on opening was 'Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia.' Bryan lived with Schizophrenia and sometimes stopped his medication to explore the unmedicated experience in his art. More about Bryan can be at Bryan Charnley

The museum went on to be one of five finalists for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2016. More about the museum is on their website Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Thanks go to Andrew Roberts' Mental Health History Timeline for the date.

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