Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences


Social Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Jones, Tiffany F.


There are few museums in the western half of the United States that provide an opportunity to educate the public about the history of mental health care. Recently, a mental health museum and archive of artifacts, photographs, and documents was established on the grounds of Patton State Hospital in Highland, California. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the establishment of this museum and archive and to provide an account of the 125 year history of Patton State Hospital. Understanding the history of Patton provides an opportunity to understand the history of mental health care in the United States from the late 19th century to the present. The establishment of this museum and archive became a joint initiative between Patton and California State University, San Bernardino’s History Department in January 2014. The museum and archive are meant to provide an educational venue that will increase awareness of the plight of the mentally ill, decrease stigmatization of those afflicted with mental illness, and further efforts to improve the care of patients through preservation and display of the artifacts, photographs, and documents related to Patton’s history. The goal of this paper is to assist future public historians with the design and establishment of a museum and/or archive, be it related to mental health history or to projects with other themes, and to provide information to other mental health facilities that wish to establish their own museums.