The author explains why and how Diego Fontanari and Mario Galzigna designed the Museum on Madness in Venice. He also describes the scientific research pursued by the two scholars and the instructions given to the lady architect who planned the museum. The museum displays an ambiguity between care and custody. The inauguration of the museum triggered a violent controversy. Psychiatrists, former employees of the asylum, considered that the asylum should not have been depicted as a place of care. Nonetheless, the museum plays today a positive role organising visits, chiefly for schools. Students can thus learn about past violent psychiatric practices, endured by persons confined in asylums, and awaken their interest in today’s mental health.
Keywords: Asylum, finds, containment, esclusion, restraint, medicalisation of madness and therapy.