The collections are 99% historically grown, and that is their great strength. Given that they are presented at their original historical site and documented and recorded in the archives of the Old Hospital and Saint Dimpna's Church, they, and the buildings and archives, constitute an extraordinary entity unto themselves.
The Old Hospice collection contains furniture, paintings, religious objects, objects of popular devotion, work utensils and medical objects. It paints a general picture of the patient care received by the poor, of a hospital in a village community and of everyday life in the convent of the Augustinian Sisters Hospitallers.
The Saint Dimpna collection is centred entirely around Geel’s insanely holy Saint Dimpna and the family fostering model for people with mental health problems. It consists of archive material, photos, publications, manuscripts, pilgrimage mementos such as pennants, prayer cards and ex-votos and tangible elements of the legend, such as a memorial tile, pieces of a sarcophagus and reliquaries.
The Hospital Museum has an exceptional collection of more than 1,300 devotional prints. Obviously the print room contains a large number of Dimpna illustrations.
Other sub-collections are:
- Collection of 250,000 prayer cards. This collection contains the oldest known obituary in Europe, dating from 1654. Genealogists and researchers are welcome to consult the database by appointment.
- Collection of places of worship in Geel: mostly cult objects, crockery and paraments.
- Photo library: prayer cards and postcards showing views of Geel between 1900 and 1960. Now part of the City Archive of Geel.
- The Van Broeckhoven documents: in his lifetime this local historian, who was a member of the museum council from 1970 to 1985, put together an interesting photographic and documentary archive of Geel.
The Hospital Museum collaborates freely with other heritage authorities. Please do not hesitate to request a loan!