What is public health? Taking the Cure explores this question and the ideas around the social management of illness–particularly mental illness–— in the 19th century through the 1960s. How has public health been managed over time and what are the various ways that individual members of society participated in the process?
As you explore the exhibit, keep in mind the labels around mental illness that were often used to dehumanize those who suffered from various psychiatric disorders. When were labels of “insanity” or “mental illness” used to control outliers of society—those who did not conform to the morés of their age. How do we see similar labeling around mental health being used today?
These are issues that continue to resonate as the nation—and the world—confront social perceptions around mental health care particularly against the backdrop of public health at large—especially during times of crisis and mass disease.
The online exhibit is a compliment to the full exhibition at the museum. All of the materials here are exclusive to the online version. Select a topic area to see associated objects, explore resources and learn more about Westport’s sanitariums and the treatment of public health.
Explore resources and other readings related to the history of public health treatment and race in medicine, both locally and regionally.
View our trailer for the “Destination Westport: Westport Sanitarium” walking tour including drone footage of the still visible footprint of the sanitarium, courtesy of the Staples Drone Club.