Filed under: Art Gallery, West Virginia | Tags: found objects, trans allegheny lunatic asylum
It is every urban explorer’s dream to walk into a forgotten place with crumbling rooms still intact – objects abandoned, chairs pushed out from tables as if the inhabitants only left for a few minutes instead of years. But mostly we just found empty rooms, unhinged doors and windows bursting with sunlight. One of the historians at the asylum told us that when the hospital closed in the 1990s, workers found jars of patients’ organs lined on shelves in the medical building, which were later buried in an unmarked grave on the property. There is the difficult task of tracing patient histories when so much has been lost. We found medicine logs from the 1970s lying on a dirty windowsill in the geriatric building. A hospital gown stuffed into a locker. The Victorian greenhouse, like something out of Burnt Offerings, humid and lush with creeping ivy. An art deco exit sign on the third floor in the middle of a dark hallway. A sooty fireplace, a purple ball, a flooded basement and deafening quiet.
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