Although I cannot be here today and join you for this historic occasion, I would like to share a few thoughts about the important legacy of care that is Patton State Hospital.

Pam Ahlin,  director of state hospitals

Today, you have the opportunity to explore the history of this great hospital by visiting the amazing Patton State Hospital Museum. It is a project that the hospital — and all of us at headquarters — are very proud of.

 In that museum are many stories that are told through displays, pictures, artifacts and artwork. These items link us to a past that stretches back 125 years — beyond a human lifetime. These items tell how the State of California treated Californians with severe mental illness throughout much of the state’s history.

 In visiting the museum today, you are taking an opportunity to broaden your understanding of the history of treating mental illness.

 Every time I look at the historic exhibits and patient artwork in the museum at Patton, or the department’s other museum in Norwalk, I’m reminded not only of where we are, but of how far we have come.

 Treatment has come a long, long way since the days of hydrotherapy tubs and other artifacts you will see inside the museum. Our understanding of mental illness has greatly expanded. The care and comfort we provide to our patients has changed in many important ways.

 When I walk out of our hospital museum, I feel energized. This is because I see the journey. I know that the work I’m doing — and the hard work that every employee at Patton State Hospital is doing — is making the future even better.

 Although Patton’s museum does not offer definitive answers to modern challenges, it broadens our horizons as we consider those challenges. We are called to continually seek new solutions that will improve safety and treatment in our hospitals.

Today is a day to celebrate Patton State Hospital and say “congratulations!” to employees past and present. Keep up the great work!

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