At the Museum

I am 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.


At the IMHM I recruit and train volunteer docents, manage web content and social media, and arrange events, programs, and talks related to medical history. I regularly give special topics for students for the general public.

Examples include:

“Women in Medicine: Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, and Healers”

“Eugenics and Psychiatry in Indiana”

“The History of the Mental Hospital”

“Pull, Probe, Shock, Buzz! Unusual Artifacts at the Indiana Medical History Museum”

I directed the following programming initiatives and exhibits at the IMHM:


“Voices from Central State” spotlighted the patient perspective on life at Indiana’s flagship mental hospital (1848-1994). Bringing together public history and the arts, this series amplified marginalized voices and stimulated discussion about mental health care in Indiana. All programs took place at the Indiana Medical History Museum.
August 26-27, 2016
From Under the Cloud
A One-Woman Theatrical Performance based on Anna Agnew’s 1886 memoir detailing her seven-year stay at Central State.
September 26-27, 2016
I Remember Jones
 A Conversation with Nanny Vonnegut about her grandmother, life at Central State in the 1940s, and the power of narrative.
November 10, 2016
Leaving Home
An Exhibit Opening on the 1994 closure of Central State, based on patient-produced newsletters
Visit the Indiana Medical History Museum’s Website for more details.
“Voices from Central State” is the product of a partnership between the Indiana Medical History Museum and the Medical Humanities & Health Studies Program at IUPUI. Funding support provided by the IU New Frontiers Program, Indiana Humanities, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

Leaving Home (November 2016- March 2017)

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.

This exhibit is part of the Voices from Central State series (see above)

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(With Tracy Tucciarone) Lobotomy: Intentions, Procedures, Effects (September-November 2015)

For most of us, the idea of lobotomy triggers revulsion. But what were the intentions behind it? Why did it become such a widespread psychiatric treatment in the mid-20th century? This exhibit explores the history of lobotomy and features a skull and leucotome that model the transorbital lobotomy procedure.