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Oregon State Hospital - Museum of Mental Health
Ranked #18 of 79 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, Activities for older children, Stairs / lift, Bathroom facilities
Level Contributor
63 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2014

What an interesting place to go, I learned so much and had only known it for the movie that was filmed there. Fascinating displays of surprising aspects of treatment and life at the hospital for both patients and staff.

Visited September 2013
5 Thank southamericancherry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sparks, Nevada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Must visit!”
Reviewed 15 October 2013 via mobile

What a great treat to visit a landmark of movie history. Lots of educational facts and items. Patients are in this building to this day. The museum part is small but worth the visit.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Maegen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“old memories”
Reviewed 11 October 2013

I dated a man who worked as an aid in the 60's, and he used to take me to work on Sunday. It was clearly a warehouse situation. A lot of the people suffered from senile dementia and Alzhimers, though they didn't have a name for it then. The usual word was "senile". There were no care facilities for memory care in the 60's, so they were sent to the state hospital, though they were not technically "mentally ill". Also, going through the museum, I was amazed at the number of children that were in the hospital, as well as the number of women. It seems if the husband were dissatisfied with his wife, he could just send her to the hospital, and say she was mentally ill.

I spent almost 2 hours there, and found it fascinating. Maybe not to everyone's taste, but I worked in a laboratory for almost 20 years, and have close relatives who are mentally ill, so probably had more interest than most of the population.

Visited July 2013
5 Thank Mary J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Georgetown, Texas
Level Contributor
89 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“an interesting museum in Salem, Oregon”
Reviewed 8 September 2013

The mental health museum is located in the former state mental hospital, built in the 1880's. The building has some unique architecture and is in a nice setting. There are several exhibits showing treatment techniques and equipment from the past, such as electro shock therapy machines. Probably the most interesting aspect was that a retired doctor from the facility served as docent and provided some interesting information and viewpoints. Well worth a couple of hours to visit.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank DWoerner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bend, OR
Level Contributor
111 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Very Informative, but bit confusing on the layout.”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

It has a record in family history. We wanted to see for ourselves the facility. Very interesting an informative with a lot a visual displays of equipment and photos. Big emphasis on the fact it was once the set for a famous movie. The route through the facility was a little confusing.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank C_and_C_Oldtimers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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