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Grand Rapids Public Museum Announces New Exhibit 
The Life of the Mind 
Mental Health Treatment Through the 21st Century 
Grand Rapids, MI – The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) just announced a new exhibit, The Life of the Mind, opening Saturday, October 21, telling the story of mental health treatment from the late 18th century through to today.

The Life of the Mind explores the evolution of mental health care based on an increase in knowledge of how the brain and mind works and on society’s changing perspectives of mental illnesses.

Featured artifacts from the GRPM’s extensive Collections provide fascinating evidence about the progression of medical intervention for mental illness from radical treatments of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the more research-based therapies of present-day practice.

This new exhibit will accompany the traveling exhibition Brain: The World Inside Your Head offering visitors a deeper dive and local angle on the subject matter.

“The Museum continuously works to add a Grand Rapids component to all of our experiences for the community. With the Brain exhibit, it’s a natural tie to the topic of mental health, and is a collaboration with local students at Calvin College,” said Dale Robertson, President & CEO of the GRPM. “The exhibit is unique as it tells the story of nationwide changes to mental health treatments over time using Grand Rapids artifacts.”

Many artifacts featured in The Life of the Mind were generously donated to the GRPM by Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Hospital where they had been originally used. Established in 1910, Pine Rest is one of only a handful of private, independent, free-standing behavioral healthcare institutions that remains in the United States, and is one of the largest with 198 inpatient beds. 
The Life of the Mind exhibit was developed by GRPM staff, based on a student project from Calvin College, where Historical Research and Writing students presented the concepts of a mental health exhibit to tell of the technological and societal changes in advancement of mental health care. The GRPM has worked with the History Department at Calvin College since 2011 in various capacities, including provided Collections access for several classes.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is an invaluable, publicly-owned institution that is home to more than 250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in the region, and is responsible for protecting the Norton Indian Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit