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Items from NY mental hospital on display in SC

Associated Press Published: September 1, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A new exhibit at the South Carolina State Museum is taking a look at the lives of patients in a New York mental hospital

"The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic" is scheduled to open on Saturday. It runs through October 14.

The exhibit that tells the tale of nine patients includes photographs of everyday items like books, needlework and letters, as well as china and postcards.

Museum officials say staff members and a museum curator worked to save the artifacts when Willard Psychiatric Center in Finger Lakes, N.Y., closed in 1995.In an attic, they found nearly 400 suitcases filled with the items.

There is also a companion exhibit featuring the history of South Carolina's mental institution on the downtown Bull Street campus.