14 June 2019 – Spring 2020

Monday – Friday, 10am – 4.30pm

Free entry

11 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JQ

The story of mental health…

from witchcraft and home remedies to straitjackets and ECT

The illustrations, books and objects displayed in this exhibition show the changing understanding of mental health over the last 500 years.

This is not simply a history of psychiatry, although that is an important part of this story. It also includes mental health experiences which date from long before the profession of psychiatry existed and uncovers the self-help remedies of those who never came into contact with medical professionals.

Additionally it considers the role of physicians, including Fellows and Members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, in the support for and treatment of these conditions.

This exhibition encourages us to examine our own ideas around mental health and aims to show how, even now, many older stereotypes and ideas about these conditions remain unchanged.






Sketches and letters by patients


Magneto-Electric Machine

Illustrations of asylum patients

We thank the historians, archivists and librarians who have assisted us in developing this exhibition:
Allan Beveridge
Grania Diver
Emma Filshie
Catriona Leonard
Isla Macfarlane
Suzanne Shouesmith
Helen Whittle

We thank those who participated in interviews or loaned objects:

Lothian Health Services Archive
John Crichton
Fiona Garwood
Rebecca Lawrence
Conor Maguire
Graham Morgan

Exhibition and digital design by Studio SP and Version 33


@RCPEHeritage   #Moonstruck

To find out more about the exhibition and to arrange guided tours for groups please email us at library@rcpe.ac.uk

For press releases, images or other press-related information please email us at policy@rcpe.ac.uk