While much has been written on the history of psychiatry, remarkably little has been written about psychiatric collections or curating. Exhibiting Madness in Museums offers a comparative history of independent and institutional collections of psychiatric objects in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. Leading scholars in the field investigate collectors, collections, their display, and the reactions to exhibitions of the history of insanity. Linked to the study of medical museums this work broadens the study of the history of psychiatry by investigating the significance and importance of the role of twentieth-century psychiatric communities in the preservation, interpretation and representation of the history of mental health through the practice of collecting. In remembering the asylum and its different communities in the twentieth century, individuals who lived and worked inside an institution have struggled to preserve the physical character of their world. This collection of essays considers the way that collections of objects from the former psychiatric institution have played a role in constructions of its history. It historicises the very act of collecting, and also examines ethical problems and practices which arise from these activities for curators and exhibitions.
Catharine Coleborne is Associate Professor in History in the History Programme, School of Social Sciences at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her research interests include histories of families and institutions, mental health and oral histories, colonial psychiatry, ethnicity and gender. Her most recent book is Madness in the Family (2010).
Dolly MacKinnon is a Senior Lecturer in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, at The University of Queensland. A cultural historian whose publications span early modern history and the histories of psychiatry, Dolly has also co-edited Madness in Australia: Histories, Heritage and the Asylum (2003) with Catharine Coleborne.
Release date Australia
December 15th, 2017
Edited by Catharine Coleborne
Edited by Dolly MacKinnon
Country of Publication
16 Halftones, black and white; 16 Illustrations, black and white