Today was an unseasonably cold day, and my friend Nancy was in town and in need of entertainment. With the usual plan of “Wander around eating my way through a cultural district” out of the question, I had to dig deep in my Indianapolis book of tricks for something interesting to do. Nancy is an ICU nurse, so I knew she’d enjoy the Indiana Medical History Museum.
The museum is housed in the former State Pathology Laboratory, built in 1896 on the grounds of the Central State Hospital for the Insane. At it’s “peak,” the hospital cared for and housed nearly 3,000 patients on 100 acres just east of downtown Indianapolis. The Pathology Laboratory itself was a destination for physicians around the state and country for its cutting edge technology and the techniques developed there. The museum now offers tours of the teaching facilities, library, morgue, and histology and chemistry labs for a small fee.
If you’re a scientist or science enthusiast, it’s fascinating to see how far we have come since the lab was functioning and how many many things are still the same. If you’re a total science flop, you’ll still be intrigued by the architectural detail and history of the place itself.“Funeral directors: Please be sure refrigerator door is closed after removing body” Indeed.