For the past decade, much of this National Historic Landmark, a sprawling campus of 19th- and 20th-century structures, was closed to the public. Recent efforts to redevelop the St. Elizabeths site have created new opportunities to access and understand its rich architectural legacy, as well as its potential to revitalize one of the city’s most underserved wards.
In concert with this massive transformation, the National Building Museum presents an exhibition that explores the architecture and landscape architecture of St. Elizabeths. The Government Hospital for the Insane, as the campus was originally named, opened in 1855 as a federally-operated facility. The multi-disciplinary exhibition will tell the story of St. Elizabeths’ change over time, reflecting evolving theories of how to care for the mentally ill, as well as the later reconfiguration of the campus as a federal workplace and mixed-use urban development.
The Architecture of an Asylum will present a remarkable story about American healthcare, architectural history, and promising adaptive reuse.
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