1st Edition

Mind Museums Former Asylums and the Heritage of Mental Health

By Francesca Lanz Copyright 2024
    168 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Mind Museums offers a fresh perspective on the heritage of mental health, bringing museums into sharp focus. Drawing on interdisciplinary approaches from architecture, museum and exhibition design, and heritage and museum studies, it examines former psychiatric asylums that have been converted into museums.

    The book presents a comprehensive investigation of mind museums, the first of its kind in Europe, and explores their potential in raising awareness and dismantling the stigma surrounding mental health. Through an indepth examination of selected European examples, Lanz describes what mind museums are and how they came to be. The innovative visitor studies carried out at the Museo di Storia della Psichiatria in Reggio Emilia, which are presented here, explore people’s encounters with mind museums and reveal the profound impact of such experiences. By uncovering the power of these heritage sites in facilitating discussions on mental health, civility, and care, Lanz provides new insights into the emotive capacity of the museum and visitors’ reflexivity at place-based memory sites.

    Mind Museums will be of great interest to scholars and postgraduate level students engaged in the study of museums, heritage, exhibition design, architecture, and mental health. It should also be of interest to heritage professionals, particularly those working in mind museums and other similar sites, such as prison museums and sites of conscience.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.

    1. Introduction; 2. [Former] asylums; 3. Mind Museums; 4. Re-Mind-Museums; 5. Conclusion


    Francesca Lanz is an assistant professor of interior architecture at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Her research combines different disciplinary approaches, theories, and practices from architectural, museum, and critical heritage studies, focusing on the role of the built environment and museums in contemporary societies, with a particular emphasis on neglected heritages and challenging memories.