Worcester State Hospital

The Worcester State Hospital was one of the first state institutions established for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Originally constructed on Summer Street in 1833, it was replaced by a larger facility on Belmont Street in 1877.

A note on language: This exhibit features terms such as “lunatic” and “insanity” as they were used in 19th-century medical practice. Although considered derogatory today, in the 19th century these terms were commonly accepted descriptors used by physicians. Because diagnostic categories shift over time in keeping with medical and cultural changes, what was described as “insanity” in the 19th century does not correspond exactly with what would now be considered mental illness, although there are many similarities. We have chosen to use the historical terms used in order to reflect their original meaning.

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