Opening the Doors: Wisconsin Mental Health Heritage

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Northern Wisconsin Hospital for the Insane. Oshkosh, WisconsinThe Julaine Farrow Museum opened in 1973 at the Blacksmith shop on the grounds of the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. The museum is the repository of the various artifacts (furniture, patient made items, photographs and many written materials which document various aspects of life within the facility). The Winnebago Mental Health Institute admitted its first patient on April 23, 1873 and was known as the Northern Hospital for the Insane. In 1935, the facility name was changed to the Winnebago State Hospital and was changed again in 1973 to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. The written materials document various aspects of life within one of the state’s two mental health facilities since 1873. The materials include annual/biennial reports authored by the physician superintendents to the State Board of Control. These reports include patient admissions, discharges and demographic information. The reports also include a listing of projects completed, highlights which occurred during the period and a financial accounting.

The Cue was written and edited by patients at the hospital beginning in 1968. All patient specific information has been deleted from this series of patient newsletters. The newsletters document patient activities and life at Winnebago, beginning in 1968 and ending in 1973. The Cue collection does include every issue published by patients. It also includes a patient generated publication, titled On the Sober Side. There are poems, short stories and some artwork in various editions of the newsletter.



Opening the Doors: Wisconsin Mental Health Heritage is collaborative project completed by the UWDCC and the Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

This project was funded, in part, through grants from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in 2009. These grants provide financial support for public libraries to digitize and make available online, their local library resources. For more information about LSTA grants in Wisconsin, contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning or visit the LSTA grant Web site at

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institutes’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.