Suitcase of H.I. Saunders (Riverview Hospital Suitcase Collection)
The Riverview Hospital Suitcase Collection was a scholarly project by Anna Tremere (President of the Riverview Hospital Historical Society) and Heidi Currie, whereby three collections of abandoned patient belongings were cataloged, photographed and rehoused following the closure of Riverview Hospital. The academic use of the artifacts formed a distinctive resource for teaching and learning in psychiatric history. The archiving of the Riverview Hospital Suitcases developed from a series of ethnographic and phenomenologically oriented scholarly projects examining the lived experiences of women working and living in the Provincial Mental Hospital in British Columbia, (BC) during the peak of the psychiatric institutionalization movement in the mid-twentieth century (Nielsen and Currie, 2008, 2010, 2012). The suitcase collection is historically significant and has value as a research resource for understanding approaches to psychiatric care and the impacts on patients, families and the community. The artifacts are currently in storage with The City of Coquitlam, British Columbia.