One-of-a-kind National Museum for Psychology to open June 27


The home movies of Sigmund Freud, the simulated shock generator used by Stanley Milgram, and artifacts from the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment will be among the items on display at the public grand opening of the National Museum of Psychology at The University of Akron on June 27 from 4-7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Eight years in the making, the new museum — located on the first floor of UA’s Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP) — is the only one of its kind in the United States, featuring temporary and permanent exhibits providing visitors hands-on experiences that explore what it means to be human.

Exhibits inside the National Museum of History.

The 8,500-square-foot museum showcases and interprets documents, media and artifacts from the more than 700 psychologists and 50 psychological organizations represented in the CCHP’s vast special collections. Examples include:

  • the original letters of Carl Jung, Harry Houdini, Albert Einstein and Hellen Keller;
  • a collection of rare books dating as far back as 1533; and
  • an assortment of instruments and apparatuses with names like “pseudophone” and “acoumeter.”

History of psychology on display

“We have always displayed materials [at the CCHP], but now with a dedicated space in our building, we’ll be able to show off our unique collection and highlight the history of psychology as a science, profession and agent of social change,” said Dr. David Baker, the Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Cummings Center.

In the “Profession” section, visitors explore how psychologists have applied their work in hospitals, businesses, schools and industry through exhibits on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, the rise of “talk therapy,” the creation of intelligence testing, and the psychology of advertising and employee selection.

In the “Science” section, visitors discover how psychology became a laboratory science and how it has been used to understand sensation, perception, the brain and animal behavior. Exhibit highlights include instruments and apparatus from early-20th-century laboratories, interactives on perceptual illusions and memory, and film footage from early studies of chimpanzee development.

In the “Social Change” section, visitors learn how psychologists use research to understand the social world and create social change. Exhibits explore early women psychologists and the study of gender differences, psychological research on race in the 1950s, changing ideas about human sexuality, and studies of social norms, social roles, obedience and authority.


Dr. David Baker, the Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Cummings Center, leads a tour in the new National Museum of Psychology at The University of Akron.

Exploring connections

“Psychology has a constant presence in our everyday lives,” said Dr. Cathy Faye, CCHP assistant director. “This museum gives visitors a chance to explore the connections between psychology and the world around them.”

The museum was designed by Dennis Barrie and his wife, Kathleen. Their company, Barrie Projects, also designed the exhibits for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and has worked on, among others, the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. The company is currently working on the U.S. Olympic Museum in Colorado.

“You don’t have to be a psychologist to love this museum,” Barrie said. “Using an accessible and engaging approach to its exhibits design, the museum explores the many ways in which psychology has helped us to better understand the human condition.”

Museum hours

The museum is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children (12 and under); and free for all UA students, faculty and military personnel with a valid ID.  

The CCHP, in which the museum is housed, is located at 73 South College St., next to the First United Methodist Church of Akron. Metered parking is available along College Street.

The CCHP is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Affiliations Program and also houses the Archives of the History of American Psychology and the Institute for Human Science and Culture. The building was donated by the former Roadway Express shipping company. Major funding for the renovations throughout the CCHP include a $5 million gift from Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings and an additional $5 million gift from Jim and Vanita Oeschlager.


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Lisa Craig, Media Relations Specialist, 330-972-7429 or