A Purposeful Place

A Place to Understand: Pennhurst is about what we as a society chose to do with people who were different—people defined as "the other.". As such, our reuse must include a place that interprets not only what happened, but why and how.

A Place to Remember: Pennhurst is about the 10,600 people who were confined there—many of whom led lives of dignity in a system designed to strip them of it. The reuse must contain a memorial to the triumph of their spirit—a inspiration for the present as much as a tribute to the past.

A Place to Learn: Pennhurst is also about ignorance—the false and willful blindness to the humanity to be found in persons Pennhurst's founders labeled as feeble-minded, idiots, imbeciles, and the like. As such, we believe it should incorporate a place for research and outreach, perhaps with a university-affiliation as well as a conference space.

A Place for All: Pennhurst was a place of seclusion; it was a world apart from the real world, and its residents kept segregated from each other and the outside world. Pennhurst as a place of conscience will be a place of inclusion. As such, its spiritual core should be surrounded by places for recreation and reflection.