So, Museum Dr. Guislain, I had high hopes for this place. A psychiatry museum, just the kind of strange museum shit that Kris and I like to visit. But, we were disappointed. Although having visit a good few months ago now, we have since gotten over that disappointment, I’m not one to hold a grudge.
I didn’t build my hopes up on any tangible evidence, I will admit, so it was mostly my own fault. For some reason I had this elaborate idea of a museum set up in an old psychiatric hospital – it was – with various exhibits showing equipment, medical practices, patient care, with replica rooms and just a lot of things to look at – it wasn’t.
It was mostly a photography exhibition and then some pages from various books, information from different studies and more photographs.
The first photography exhibit was based around the care of patients with mental health problems in poorer places like Africa. Which, although interesting, wasn’t what I wanted when going to a museum about the history of psychiatry in Belgium.
Saying that, there was the very fascinating set of photographs of a social experiment a photographer – I forgot their name – did. They choose a place, a set amount of time and a theme and set about photographing the people who met the theme, such as “wearing a red coat” or “wearing fur”. I spent a lot of time looking at those photos. I couldn’t quite believe that someone could find 30 people following the same random theme in about half an hour.
The photography exhibits did display some interesting themes, the main idea being to show the patients in all lights, be it psychosis or gardening, it had that feel of trying to show you something more than just the psychiatric illness. But, for me, that made it lose it’s museum-feel.
The few areas where there were physical items on display were very interesting from a medical perspective. Old MRI machines, there was also a mock hospital set up – which gives an eerie atmosphere – a selection of old science equipment that were used for studies and a few odd bits and pieces. Call me greedy, but I wish this section was bigger.
For €8 entry, it’s not expensive – what is an expensive museum entry? Is €8 cheap? I think it’s cheap – I won’t visit again though.
On the upside, we were done a lot earlier than planned so we spent a few hours in Ghent wandering and gander-ing at things.
Have you been to something similar? Would you go to something similar?