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Campus History
Larned State Hospital Museum
Larned State Hospital
The Hospital building at Larned State Hospital stands as one of the early brick structures on campus. The building now houses a museum exhibiting items collected throughout the facility’s century-long history and is available to the public through pre-arranged tours.
Dipman honored at LSH ribbon cutting
Former LSH Superintendent Lesia Dipman was honored by current Superintendent Lindsey Dinkel for her effort and support in establishing a museum on the LSH campus. LSH held the dedication ceremony Thursday morning to which the public was invited.
“‘The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.’”
Dinkel read

LARNED — Former Larned State Hospital Superintendent Lesia Dipman returned to the campus Thursday morning for the dedication of a new museum there Thursday, apparently unaware of two surprises that current Superintendent Lindsey Dinkel had in store for her.

First, Dipman was invited to cut the ribbon. Second, the museum bears her name.

A sizeable crowd was on hand for the dedication, in a special Coffee Hour sponsored by the Larned Chamber of Commerce. Current and former LSH staff members and Larned residents joined Dipman and Dinkel in the hallway of the Larned Hospital building where the museum is located across the street from the LSH Administration building. 

As one of the original buildings on the Larned State Hospital campus, the hospital was not only a fitting location for the dedication of a museum, but also a fitting place to display memorable items collected from over 100 years of the facility’s history.

“We wanted a very special way to show our gratitude for all the things you did for us,” Dinkel said, as she passed Dipman the scissors. Next, she presented a plaque with Dipman’s photo, on which the Liesa Dipman Museum was inscribed.

Below that is inscribed a quotation from Dipman’s farewell speech to the staff delivered Sept. 16, after a 38-year career which included the past five years as superintendent of the facility.

Dinkel said the quote spoke to her in describing not only the work being done at LSH, but the work involved in creating the museum space in LSH’s historic Hospital building just north of the administration building on campus.

“‘The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.’” Dinkel read. “That certainly captures the purpose of this museum,” she said. “ With the help of the museum, the history of the facility that began in 1914 will outlast all of us.”

Larned State Hospital Museum

A place for history

Two rooms in the Hospital’s east wing, along with their connecting corridor, have been dedicated to the preserved records, photographs, equipment and memorabilia collected over LSH’s history as it looks to celebrating its 110th anniversary next April. The museum project itself took over a decade to complete, as it was first hinted at during LSH’s Centennial Celebration in 2014. One of the first locations considered was the second floor of the Capper building, which served as a dormitory for young boys until the late 1970s.

A history of innovation

From the beginning, the 78-acre campus at LSH has been a site for innovation regarding mental health services in Kansas. Prior to its construction, mental health facilities had followed the philosophy of American psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride in the mid-to late 19th Century. 

Known as Kirkbrides, the institutions were large, multi-winged single structures.

The original plan for the facility at Larned, however, did not follow the Kirkbride style, but was instead built according to the “cottage plan,” where the patients may be grouped according to their condition, and “managed and treated to much better advantage.” The first Larned patients were transfers from Topeka State Hospital and Osawatomie State Hospital. The surrounding acreage was utilized as a farm as part of the open-air, work-related treatment methodology of the early 20th Century.

The Liesa Dipman Museum at Larned State Hospital chronicles the evolution of mental health treatment as well as the changes within the LSH campus over its 110-year history.

The museum is open to the public through guided tours pre-arranged through the Superintendent’s Office on Fridays. No admission fee will be charged.