See the country’s first hospital devoted to the care of the mentally ill,
and learn about the treatment of mental illness in early American history at
the Public Hospital of 1773. The building is located in the Colonial
Williamsburg living history area, and features exhibition cells, galleries,
The hospital was first founded in 1773 and reopened as a museum in 1985.
There are six exhibition cells on the first floor of the east wing, set up to
show the types of treatments used over the years. Additional galleries and
artifacts illustrate the history of the hospital and the practices of 18th
and 19th century medicine. Guided tours, available twice a week, offer
Things to Know Before You Go
Entrance to the Public Hospital of 1773 is included as part of your
Colonial Williamsburg ticket.
Guided tours are held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9am and last for about
The topics and displays of the museum may not be suitable for young
The museum is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The museum is located south of Francis Street in Colonial Williamsburg. The
shuttle bus stops just outside. There’s also an underground concourse that
leads to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
When to Get There
The Public Hospital Museum is open daily from morning until evening. Since
it’s open later than many of the other attractions on the Colonial Williamsburg
tour, it makes sense to save the museum for the end of the circuit.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
It's easy to visit the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, which includes
the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Folk Art Museum, as it's located in the same building as the Public Hospital
of 1773. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s holdings include more than
70,000 antiques and works of art, 15,000 architectural elements, and 20
million archaeological artifacts, including clothing, instruments, toys,
furniture, and paintings.