The Museum

The Museum
Psychiatric Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark
Museet, Psykiatrisk Hospital i Århus
Skovagervej 2 8240 Risskov
Phone: +45 77893680 fax.: +45 77893679
Director of Museum: Mia Lejsted

The Museum is part of Psychiatric Hospital in Aarhus and as such part of Aarhus University Hospital. The museum itself has two sections. One is dedicated to the history of the hospital and the history of psychiatry. The other is devoted to art created by psychiatric patients. In addition, the Museum is responsible for activities within and outside the hospital. The intramural activities include publishing titles dealing with art or psychiatry on behalf of the Ovartaci Foundation, and they include managing a series of art studios for psychiatric patients as well as a studio for children as part of the Museum's outreach program to local schools. They also include running a Museum Café that contains a small art gallery.

Per Kirkeby, painter, sculptor, poet and filmmaker, is protector of the museum.



The staff numbers about 50 people. It includes 1 art historian, 2 historians, 3-6 guides, 1 editor, 1 graphic artist, 1 photographer, 3 craftsmen, as well as managers and technical and administrative staff. A significant proportion of staff is volunteer or employed with financial support from welfare authorities.


The museum collaborates with the landscape artist, Torben Schonherr, and the sculptor, Ingvar Cronhammar, in renovating the horticultural and artistic attributes of the old and stately park surrounding Psychiatric Hospital. A significant aspect of this work will be a series of new sculptures. The museum also collaborates with “Bredgades Kunsthandel” (a gallery –) in Copenhagen in the organisation of special exhibitions of the work of selected artists.

Collaboration in education

The museum hosts students from the University of Aarhus, including the Aarhus School of Business, who want to study our collections and exhibitions for their thesis work. Medical students, nursing students and students attending teacher's colleges exploit our guided tours to learn more about those aspects of psychiatry to which we can contribute, history of psychiatry and art forms such as L'Art Brut. We also welcome students from Folkeskolen (elementary school) as well as smaller children in the outreach program mentioned earlier.


Patients' Library in the Museum

Collaboration in Europe

The Museum has recently been invited to join the European project: “Exploring the European Mind II”, which runs from 2007-2013. In this project we shall collaborate with nine of the principal psychiatric historical museums and collections of L'Art Brut, folk – and outsider art in Europe with the purpose of throwing light on Psychiatry, art, architecture and our common heritage concerning the history of madness. We also take part in the European book project: “Locating the Soul”, which aims to collect and disseminate information about European museums dedicated to history of psychiatry and L'Art Brut.


Researchers of the University and others with the appropriate qualifications have free and ready access to our collections and exhibitions as well as to the extensive archives of files, hospital charts and registers of the hospital and of the Danish Society of Psychiatry (Dansk Psykiatrisk Selskab). We also collaborate extensively with the other university museums in Aarhus (e.g. the Steno Museum, Museion and the Museum of Antique Sculptures) and the other museums for psychiatric art in Denmark in the exchange of information and physical objects.

Fields of strength

Disseminating information locally, regionally and nationally of essential specialty, strong authenticity in function, history, architecture and environment – Major L'Art Brut art collection – The artist, patient and individualist Ovartaci – Working studios and creative workshops.


There are about 14,000 visitors to the museum each year.




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