In 2016 I curated the exhibit Leaving Home, with Modupe Labode and Emily Beckman, as part of the Voices from Central State series. Here is the exhibit description: Built in the 1840s to treat people diagnosed with mental illness, Indiana’s Central State Hospital closed in 1994 after a spate of scandals regarding patient neglect. “Leaving Home” explores the hospital’s final years (1988-1994) through two patient-produced newsletters, The DDU Review and The Local Bahr. These sources provide a rich narrative guide to patients’ lives at Central State during the era of deinstitutionalization. We developed the exhibit, which consisted of 12 2’x3′ panels, during the summer ofRead More →

From 2014-2017 I was the Director of Public Programs at the Indiana Medical History Museum, formerly the Pathological Department of Indiana’s Central State psychiatric Hospital. The museum is devoted to preserving and interpreting the history of scientific medicine in Indiana, and it has everything: a gorgeous autopsy theater, brains in jars, antiquated scientific equipment, original patient records, and much more. At the IMHM I recruited and trained volunteer docents, managed web content and social media, and arranged events, programs, and talks related to medical history. It was here that I discovered my love of bringing together historical research and public engagement. I regularly take my students fromRead More →

Image: Riah in Blue, by Nanny Vonnegut In 2016 I was Project Manager for “Voices from Central State, a series of public programs that spotlighted the patient perspective on life at Indiana’s flagship mental hospital (1848-1994). Bringing together public history and the arts, this series aimed to amplify marginalized voices and stimulate a discussion about mental health care in Indiana. This project was the result of a partnership between the IUPUI Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program and the Indiana Medical History Museum (IMHM). All programs took place at the Indiana Medical History Museum. Funding support was provided by IU’s New Frontiers Program, Indiana Humanities, TheRead More →

The Indiana Women’s Prison History Project grew out of a college program founded in 2012 by Kelsey Kauffman. The Project allows incarcerated students to pursue original, graduate-level research, and has resulted in numerous conference presentations and publications (see the links below for more information). Project participants (some now released from IWP or transferred to other correctional facilities) have investigated interlocking topics related to prison history and women’s history, the history of medicine and eugenics, and the study of gender, sexuality, and criminality. They’ve aimed to bring lived experience to historical scholarship, and to use historical analysis to understand current issues in the criminal justice system.Read More →