Museum horrifies with gruesome reality

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swallow 453 nails, 42 screws, 164 safety pins, several spoons, salt shaker lids and hundreds of buttons?

At the Glore Psychiatric Museum numerous mannequin pose as a representation of the many people that were harmed or committed harm to themselves in history.

Probably not, unless you are the man featured in the Glore Museum who ingested these items. As for what happened to him once he ate these things, the Glore Museum can lend more information, along with other eerie displays.

The Glore Museum is located at 3406 Frederick Ave, along with the St. Joseph Museum, the Black Archives Museum and the local Civil War Museum. These museums detail different aspects in time of the rich history of St. Joseph. With more than 22,000 visitors per year, the museums always have plenty of visitors daily.

The museums offer an abundant amount of displays that include artifacts and models that are designed to give the visitor a glimpse back in time. The Glore Psychiatric Museum has been, according to their website, recognized as “one of the 50 most unusual Museums in the country,” and it is also featured in a book called “1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the USA and Canada.”

Kathy Reno has worked for the St. Joseph Museums for 28 years. Reno says she feels that the museums are of great importance to the St. Joseph Community and is partial to the Glore Psychiatric Museum. Her favorite exhibit is of an embroidered sheet that was made by a schizophrenic patient who could not speak, so she communicated through the embroidery.

“My feelings are, when you know where you are coming from it helps understand how far we have actually come,” Reno said. “This is especially true in mental illness.”

As soon as one walks into the Glore, an eerie feeling descends. The treatment displays offer great insight into how they dealt with mental illness in the past. Some are very disturbing and leave the visitor with a feeling of sadness for those who went through them.

The Glore may be the most famous of the museums, but the others do not disappoint. The Civil War Museum is very expansive in detailing the impact it had on St. Joseph and the State of Missouri as a whole. Displays outline the timeline of the Civil War in Missouri, complete with original artifacts that are overshadowed by the original Confederate Flag of one of Missouri’s most famous regiments. No doubt Missouri Western history majors would get an awakening experience from it.

Jackie Lewin, executive director of the museums, has worked for the St Joseph Museums since 1973. She feels that all of the exhibits of are equal importance with its own history.

“It would be extremely difficult for me to single out one to be my favorite,” Lewin said. “I would like to see students and the community to come out and judge for themselves.”

Lewin also encourages any students looking to volunteer or intern to stop by the museum or give them a call. She says the museum has had several Western students work there in the past and some have even designed displays in the museum.

Wilma Walmsley, a retired secretary from Nebraska, said she has been to the museum six times. She continues to bring friends and family to see all the museum has to offer. Walmsley also said she loves history and believes it has great benefits to anyone wanting to learn about the past, whether it be the Civil War or the evolution of methods in mental health. The one thing that really saddens her is the lobotomy display.

“The first time I came to these museum was by accident,” said Walmsley “Every time I come back here I see something new that I must have missed on one of my previous visits; it’s just a wonderful place.”

The museums are very entertaining. It is a great place for Western students to come out and do some research or find a topic for a paper. The museum offers something useful for almost every major at Western. Students in the nursing and psychology departments at Western are usually encouraged to tour the museums. Students can gain admission to all of the museums for $3 with a student I.D.

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