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“OR STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL MUSEUM (Salem) - History Worth Understanding”

Oregon State Hospital - Museum of Mental Health
Ranked #14 of 67 things to do in Salem
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Located in the historic Kirkbride building built in 1883, the Oregon State Hospital is the oldest working psychiatric facility on the west coast. The OSH Museum is a non-profit, volunteer-run business that provides a fascinating look into the past practices and history of mental health in Oregon. As a self-guided tour, you will be able to explore 2500 Square Feet of exhibits at your own pace and engage in interactive displays. The museum is open: Tuesdays 12pm -4pm, Wednesdays 12pm-4pm, Thursdays 12pm-4pm, Fridays 12pm - 4pm and Saturdays 12pm - 4pm Admission: General: $5.00 Seniors(65+): $4.00 and Students:$4.00, children under 10 are free with an adult)
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Stairs / lift, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 31 May 2018

My wife is a retired RN and I really appreciated the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (1962 Book; 1975 Picture). So we visited the Oregon State Mental Hospital Museum in Salem, Oregon. The parking was free and the low cost entry for seniors helped.

Taking time to read the presentations and visualizing the people, places and histories is well worth the time taken. Our fellow travelers, young and old, on this earth once lived here. Some for a little while and others for their whole lives. Those who stayed till death and were not taken elsewhere by loved ones, were buried or cremated here. They were all eventually placed in copper containers (Memorial). Many remained unknown through death... Come feel their souls and shed a tear a tear of compassion for those who are still here (see the Memorial picture). The exhibits have been carefully presented so as to be less difficult in your visit. Some treatments / techniques are mentioned but not really discussed.

This memory will live with us for a very long time.

Date of experience: May 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 May 2018

Housed in the former entrance to the old Oregon State Hospital, the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health consists of a handful of small rooms and displays a fraction of the more than 4,000 artifacts contained in its archive.

It fun to see where Jack Nicholson filmed "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1975. Worth a visit!

Date of experience: March 2018
4  Thank diamondfirst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2018

The nature of this sort of exhibit can lead to a whitewashed presentation of historical events now recognized as detrimental. We found the descriptions of past methods of mental health treatment to be fair-minded.

Displays were nicely-designed with a high "human interest" quality, docents informative.

Limited hours of operation were inconvenient for us. We left a voicemail requesting an appointment apart from regular hours; since this request was not answered, we spent an additional day in Salem so as to be on hand for this tour. Pleasant enough as we were in no hurry during this portion of our trip.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank MrFrugality
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2017

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest filming location, which would make it interesting in and of itself. However, the museum offers a wonderful insight into mental health treatment over time. As far as we have to go in this arena, it seems we have come a long way already. It is worth the $5 admission fee.

Additionally, there is the crematorium memorial adjacent to this that was very moving.

Date of experience: October 2017
1  Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 September 2017

If you are a more buff, one flew over the koo koo nest was filmed in building now torn down years ago, but if you enjoy looking at mental hospitals and old things they used to do got poor inmates.

Date of experience: May 2017
Thank Gabriele R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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