The National Museum of Mental Health Project researches the use of exhibits to transform society's attitudes about,

and understanding of, mental health. 

The Project seeks to:

  • Share research related to exhibits about mental health and wellness. 

  • Facilitate collaboration among artists, curators, exhibit designers, mental health professionals, people with lived experience, and others who seek to share knowledge.

  • Inspire the development of a national museum of mental health that is a museum-without-walls. This may take the form of a new nonprofit entity, or emerge organically from vigorous collaboration and sharing of know-how.

 

The Project extends from a research fellowship at Assumption College. 

Site Created by Designer Kate Kruzick 

Accelerating the Trend:

Our research indicates that exhibits about mental health represent a nascent national trend. By far, it is in the Midwest and the Northeast where the greatest concentration of exhibits has been located, however exhibits have been located from Georgia to Texas to California as well.

Designing a mental health exhibit requires an intricate partnership among curators, mental health professionals, artists and others. Effective promotion of a mental health exhibit involves a similarly intricate partnership among curators, museum communication personnel, social service agencies, mental health advocacy groups, and others. Partnerships lead to effective exhibits, and in the process, create a specialized form of know-how relative to the design and execution of mental health exhibits. When mental health content is presented to the public in the form of an exhibit, audience reaction must be carefully considered.

For the use of exhibits about mental health to accelerate nationally, we contend there needs to be a greater level of: 

  • sharing of the physical exhibits, once they have been developed, by having exhibits and sub-exhibits travel to numerous geographies and numerous types of display locations such as public spaces, colleges and universities, libraries, museums, corporate workplaces, and other locations

 

  • sharing of the know-how (aka playbook) involved in designing and promoting such exhibits – without this sharing, each new exhibit will require developers to navigate the same set of intricate issues related to design, distribution, and promotion 

We see at least two pathways for accelerating this trend. This website is a small step toward Path 1, while also providing a vision and business model for Path 2 (see National Museum of Mental Health Concept Statement page).