That Time I… went to a torture museum


Angelina Padilla-Tompkins

The Medieval Torture Museum, located in Chicago, shows how humans in the past were tortured in place of their mistakes.

By Angelina Padilla-Tompkins, Editor-in-Chief

During the winter break my dad, younger sister and I decided to use the time to visit the Medieval Torture Museum in Chicago. 

It was unlike any museum I had ever visited. There were models of bodies lined up throughout the exhibit demonstrating the various ways individuals were tortured in the past. I was shocked at just how brutally people had been treated. 

The torture museum covered the ways men, women and children were tortured through the medieval eras. 

Throughout the exhibits, I saw visuals of individuals being trapped in metal cages, beheaded, skinned, drowned, burned alive, publicly humiliated, flogged, hung, stretched, body parts removed and tortured by animals and insects. 

I couldn’t help but gasp as I saw the images and read the descriptions of instruments created specifically to inflict pain. 

The goal of torture was mostly to force an individual to confess a crime for which they would them be tortured as well. Individuals were often tortured publicly as a warning to the community. 

The experience was truly an eye-opener to just how cruel humanity can be to others. I cannot imagine witnessing someone being tortured and I had a hard time understanding how humanity ever believed it to be an OK form of punishment. 

The museum believes that everyone should be aware of how people have been hurt in the past. 

“We believe that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, and have amassed an unprecedented collection of cruelty, based on historical documents and engravings, offering a chilling look into the darkest parts of human history,” according to the museum.

The experience at the torture museum was truly unique, but I believe it is important to know about our history. Learning about the various forms of medieval torture illustrated just how far we have come as a society.