April is Occupational Therapy Month, and our Art of the Cure Exhibit opens in just two months! Did you know that the Scholfield Memorial Workshop at Trudeau Sanatorium may have been the first time that occupational therapy was used for mentally well patients? Dr. Lawrason Brown implemented the use of occupational therapy for TB patients at Trudeau Sanatorium, and patients had the opportunity to study a range of handicrafts from leatherwork, bookbinding, photography, basket-weaving, decorative work, and more!
The Scholfield Memorial Workshop was built in 1909 as a gift of Mrs. Walter L. Goodwin. It was named for Herbert L. Scholfield, a patient and skilled craftsperson. In this image, patients in the Workshop practice weaving as part of their treatment at the Sanatorium.
In “Portrait of Healing,” Victoria Rhinehart described the possible origins of occupational therapy as such: “The true origin of occupational therapy remains open for some dispute. Numerous sources credit Dr. Brown for its birth at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium in 1904. A more accurate statement would be to credit Dr. Brown, certainly as the first who created the concept of outdoor occupational therapy, and likely the first to utilize occupational therapy with tuberculosis patients, and perhaps the first to use occupational therapy with patients who were mentally well. The actual origin of using this type of therapy on a patient population came well before Dr. Brown's time. . . . Susan E. Tracy, who organized occupational therapy classes in her training school for nurses at the Adams Nervine Asylum in 1906, was considered to be the first occupational therapist. However, as the work of Dr. Brown, with his occupational therapy experiment with tuberculosis patients in 1903 to 1904, predates the work of Susan Tracy and others, there is some merit to sources that credit Brown with the birth of modern occupational therapy.”
To learn more about the Workshop, visit our wiki!
And be sure to stay tuned for more on our upcoming special exhibit, Art of the Cure, which highlights TB patient artists, writers, musicians, architects, and more! Art of the Cure will open in late June 2019.
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