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SJHH / About/ Our Locations/ West 5th Campus/ Hamilton Museum of Mental Health Care

Hamilton Museum of Mental Health Care

About the Museum

The Hamilton Museum of Mental Health Care is committed to the collection, interpretation and continued preservation of the history of mental health care at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton Margaret and Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare. This collection represents artifacts and information from the earliest days when the hospital was known as Ontario Hospital Hamilton until the present. The museum provides a place to learn and share knowledge and understanding of mental health care.

Visiting the Museum

Volunteers are available during the week to provide guided tours of the museum. For larger groups or to book an in depth tour, or to view any of our artifacts that are currently in storage, please contact the museum at museumpc@stjoes.ca or call 905-522-1155 ex 35512. 

Admission: Admission is by donation. All proceeds go to support museum educational programming.

Hours of Operation: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Current Location:
Level 2, Block B, West 5th Campus 
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
100 West 5th Street, Hamilton ON

About Our Collections

The museum has a rich collection of photographs, documents and artifacts that tell the story of mental health care at the West 5th campus beginning from the late 1800s to present day, focusing on 1876-1976. Historical collections focus on the site as an Asylum, Ontario Hospital, the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital, and finally as the Margaret and Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Exhibits:
Informative displays feature themes such as the nursing school, occupational therapy, treatments, and changing attitudes towards mental health care.

Research

There are a number of resources for research related to the history of mental health care available at the Museum. These include scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, hospital newsletters, annual reports and photographs. An online database of artifacts and historical documents is also currently in development.

All official documentation and records produced by the hospital dating from 2000 and earlier are the properties of the Archives of Ontario. Please click here to learn more about viewing Archived documents.

For information on the history of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, please inquire at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Library.

Interesting Facts

The Museum collection contains one of the few Utica Cribs (pictured below) in existence. Designed in Utica, NY in the 1840s, the crib was based on a similar device used in French asylums. This crib was found in storage at the West 5th site with little evidence it was used to any extent here, as the first superintendent, Dr. Bucke, promoted a policy of non-restraint.

The 1913 Annual Report showed a very favourable harvest for the hospital farms and orchards (pictured below), with nearly 189,000 pounds of fruits and 263,000 pounds of vegetables used or placed in storage.

Straw mattresses (pictured below) were in use at the hospital until the 1920’s. Nurses’ first step in making beds was to reach into the straw tick and fluff the straw—and hope no mice had decided to nest there!

Get Involved

Volunteers play a vital role in interpreting this site’s rich history. The Museum needs the support of volunteers in the areas of collections care, digitization, and educational and interpretive programming.

If you are interested in volunteering with the museum, or elsewhere in the hospital, please contact Volunteer Resources.

For more information about the Museum please contact:
Sharlene Wilson, Volunteer Coordinator
905-522-1155 ext. 35561
swilson@stjoes.ca or museummpc@stjoes.ca