Freud Museum London celebrates 25th anniversary

Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:04pm EDT
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By Julie Mollins

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - What was life like for the father of psychoanalysis who made a profession of analyzing the lives of others?

Insights into how Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis whose work on human sexual repression led to terms as "Freudian slip" and "Oedipus complex," lived can be found at the Freud Museum London which celebrates its 25th anniversary on Thursday.

The large brick, early 20th-century house in north London is where Freud spent his final year after fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1938 before dying on September 23, 1939, at age 83.

Anna Freud, the youngest of his six children who was also a psychoanalyst, had arranged before her death in 1982 to have the house transformed into a museum in 1986. The museum now receives 20,000 visitors a year, according to director Carol Seigel.

"His work has permeated many aspects of our contemporary culture," she said. "We're moving into a period where people are taking a bit more of a long view and recognizing that even if there is criticism of certain aspects of his work and certain theories, Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential world-changing thinkers of the 20th century."

Visitors to the museum can see his couch in the study where patients underwent psychoanalysis, his desk and valuable antiquities collection, preserved as they were while he was alive.

Freud's much-loved figurines and objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and China, reflect his interest in religious beliefs and the supernatural. Many of these objects are on display in his study and library. His coat, boots, wedding ring and other personal items are also on show.

Freud's discoveries about the unconscious mind altered popular perceptions of self and society. He abandoned more traditional ways of treating mental disorders in favor of listening to his patients talk, allowing them to free associate ideas.   Continued...

<p>Sigmund Freud is seen at his study at 39 Elsworthy Rd in London in a handout photo. REUTERS/Freud Museum London/Handout</p>