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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
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Mission Statement

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The Mission

The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.

The Statement

This site is dedicated to the history of asylums in all forms. The term of asylum is applied to not only what is commonly thought of: mental hospitals, but can also be applied to sanatoriums, state training schools, reform schools, almshouses, and orphanages. These institutions have and continue to play a major part in today's society.

Everyone throughout the United States and in many other countries has in one way or another felt the touch of these institutions. These places have both directly and indirectly affected people and their families. They have shaped lives and created many popular myths about them.

With all that in mind, this site was created to help in the historical research of any institutions that can be classified as an asylum. It was created for both serious researchers, those who are doing genealogical research, and people with an interest in asylums.

Featured Article Of The Week

Mendota Mental Health Institute


Mendota opened on July 14, 1860 when it admitted a patient who had been brought all the way from Oconto County...a long trip by horse and wagon. Even though the hospital was not yet ready to open, that Saturday it was decided that, because of the distance the patient had been brought, he should be received. Thus began Mendota's ready response to the needs of patients and communities, which has been its tradition.

Mendota has gone through many changes since then, some of them dramatized in the changes in its name. It opened as an "Asylum", appropriate in an era when little could be done for the mentally ill except to house and care for them...i.e. to give them asylum...when their families and communities could no longer cope with their needs.

In a later era, when patients were recognized as having an illness...mental illness...the name was changed to Mendota State Hospital, reflecting its responsibility for providing treatment.

In more recent times, with the discovery of psychiatric medications and with new approaches (some of which resulted from research at Mendota itself) it became possible for the mentally ill to be treated in community hospitals and clinics. But there remained a need for a place for those who required more specialized treatment than most community hospitals and clinics could provide, and where the tradition of research, education, and consultation that Mendota had already established could continue. Mendota was then changed to its present name of Mendota Mental Health Institute. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

On the west central shore of Lake Winnebago, just north of the city of Oshkosh, lies a promontory called Asylum Point. Its surrounding waters are identified as Asylum Bay. For 125 years, the Bay has sheltered the facility which has been known as the Northern Asylum for the Insane; the Winnebago State Hospital; and Winnebago Mental Health Institute. Although its waters have been by no means always tranquil, the Institute has, throughout its history, provided many troubled individuals with a sanctuary, a refuge, and a safe place to prepare for re-entry into a turbulent world.

Featured Video

The following nearly sixty minute 1983 Academy Award nominated documentary video entitled "Children of Darkness" was filmed mostly inside South Beach Psychiatric Center. The film focuses on the children living in the facility and how they were treated.

Recent Message Board Posts


In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.

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If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.