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Media Advisory

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
Press Release # 098-07
Tuesday, December 4, 2007

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA
DOHMH: Sara Markt, 212-788-5290 (smarkt@health.nyc.gov)
The New York Public Library: Heidi Singer, 212-592-7311 (Heidi_Singer@nypl.org)
NAMI-NYC Metro: Todd Severance, 212-684-3365(publications@naminyc.org)


NEW EXHIBITION CHRONICLES PATIENTS’ LIVES IN THE ERA OF THE ‘LUNATIC ASYLUM’

“The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic” Will be on Display from Dec. 4, 2007 to Jan. 31, 2008

WHAT:

The Health Department announces the opening of an exhibition that chronicles the lives of people committed to the Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate New York during the first half of the 20th century. When this former “lunatic asylum” was closed more than a decade ago, several hundred suitcases belonging to former patients were discovered in the attic.  Their contents – snapshots, letters, clothing – have been assembled in a powerful exhibition, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic.

By chronicling the lives of these individuals before they were committed, the exhibition poignantly illustrates the failures of the mental health system of the 20th century and reinforces the importance of providing quality mental health care and promoting the rights of the mentally ill today.

More information about the exhibition, including an online gallery, is available at www.suitcaseexhibit.org.

WHEN:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 through January 31, 2008 (Friday – Monday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm; Tuesday- Thursday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm).

WHERE:  The Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 Madison (between 34th and 35th Streets).
WHO:

The Lives They Left Behind is sponsored by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC Metro, and the New York Public Library, with support from the New York Community Trust.

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