Mind Museums: Former Asylums and the Heritage of Mental Health

Francesca Lanz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Mind Museums offer a fresh perspective on the heritage of mental health, bringing museums into sharp focus by examining former psychiatric asylums that have been converted into museums and exploring their potential in raising awareness and dismantling the stigma surrounding mental health.

Drawing on interdisciplinary approaches from architecture, museum and exhibition design, and heritage and museum studies, the book presents a comprehensive investigation of mind museums, the first of its kind in Europe. Through an in-depth 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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages168
ISBN (Electronic)9781003258971
ISBN (Print)9781032193984
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2024

Publication series

NameMuseums in Focus

Cite this