The “Museo Laboratorio della Mente. Portatori di Storie” (trad: Mind Lab Museum. Stories Holders) retraces the history of the Old "Manicomio Provinciale Santa Maria della Pietà", from its foundation as an “Hospitale de'poveri forestieri et pazzi dell'Alma Città di Roma” to its finally closing in 1999 after being used as a psychiatric hospital.
A fascinating interactive tour allows visitors to discover, through the memories of the madhouse, the alterity of its forms and its languages.
The aim of the museum is an historiographical complaint of institutional and anti-institutional practices of the psychiatric asylum, to promote mental health against the stigma of traditional mental hospital.
The sixth pavilon of 43 buildings, which were in the Area of the "Manicomio Provinciale Santa Maria della Pietà", is now the home of the Museum.
The image above shows the entrance.
The Museum's plaque.
Through the "wall", both physical and symbolic barrier which the patients were subjected, you can enter the asylum.
The picture above shows one of the most suggestive experiences that the museum has to offer. Simply resting your elbows on the table and placing your hands near your ears, you can hear the same voices that tormented lots of hospital's patients many years before.
One more wall interposes itself to the passage of visitors.
This time the Museum offers the reconstruction of an hospital wall sculpted during the '60s by Oreste Fernando Nannetti, a mentally ill of the Santa Maria della Pietà.
Continuing through the different areas of the asylum…
Here the technology is at the service of the information. Thanks to an interactive table you can "browse" and observe several examples of stories experienced by patients and staff of the psychiatric hospital.
In conclusion, a spectacular hi-tech application helps to tell the memories of the psychiatric hospital and the mental illness.
Quoting the words of the Museum's director, the Dr. Pompeo Martelli:
«The new installation's aim is to give voice to the today's experiences of psychiatric patients, their families and mental health workers. Thus was born "Portatori di storie" (trad. Stories Holders), putting in order the words that allow you to tell the whole world of mental illness.»
- First two photos by Claudio D'Agostino moc.liamg|alcogad#|, the others are courtesy of the Museum Press Office (December 2012)
- Locate the item on this Google Maps
- Visit the Museum's Official Website
- UOS Centro Studi e Ricerche ASL Roma E - Studio Azzurro (a cura di), Museo Laboratorio della Mente, Silvana Editoriale, Milano 2010, pp. 143