Special Exhibition

Behind Walls

Photography in Swiss Psychiatric Institutions 1880–1935

24 March to 31 July 2022

Many hospital archives preserve a treasure trove of historical photographs and glass slides from around 1900, when these institutions were being professionalized, modernized and restructured. It was usually the psychiatrists themselves behind the camera. The photos “materialize” the doctor’s view of the institution and its surroundings, of the patients, and of everyday work, but also of leisure time and parties, and of the nursing staff. Psychiatrists used photographs in lectures, and provided medical publications with a wealth of illustrative material. Photographs were used effectively in public relations or for entertainment purposes. The photographic medium seems to have virtually given wings to psychiatry. Read more...


Permanent Exhibition

Die Sammlung Prinzhorn – von „Irrenkunst" zur Outsider Art (The Prinzhorn Collection – From “Art of the Insane” to Outsider Art)

From July 1, 2020

For the first time, the Prinzhorn Collection has created a permanent exhibition to accompany the museum’s special exhibits. Entitled “The Prinzhorn Collection – From ‘Art of the Insane’ to Outsider Art”, the exhibit features around 120 works created in a psychiatric context from the mid-19th century until today, offering a glimpse of the 27,000 works in the collection. Read more...

Image: Josef Forster, self-portrait, 1916-1921, Inv.No. 4494 © Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg University Hospital