To effectively and efficiently maximize the national impact of exhibits about mental health, it will take more than informal passing along of exhibits, but rather a coordinated system in place across the United States. Exhibits that have been thoughtfully designed in one geographic area would have no effective way of finding their way to venues in other geographic areas without a system to promote, distribute, interpret, and maintain these exhibits. This system would need to be capable of developing alliances and partnerships to spread the benefits of exhibits locally and nationally, and capable of accumulating the learning and expertise necessary to develop the next generation of mental health exhibits. Below is a vision for such a system – a National Museum of Mental Health that would take the form of a nonprofit entity.
The National Museum of Mental Health is a non-profit brand and “museum without walls” that aims to serve as a focal point in developing mental health literacy in the United States. Using a series of rotating and traveling exhibitions, supplemented by pop-up exhibits and an educational online component, NMMH will do what museums do best – educate, interpret, create dialogue, and develop literacy – while taking the museum to the “visitor.” NMMH will build alliances with community, local, and national not-for-profit, for-profit, governmental, and educational entities who are similarly interested in creating positive mental health outcomes.
The locations of NMMH’s physical exhibits will include publicly-accessed libraries, colleges and universities, local and regional museums, airports, places of employment, and other public locations of high population. Using a business model capable of generating its own revenue and operating on a mixed financing strategy, NMMH seeks to create positive public health and economic impacts by empowering audiences to better manage their lives and mental health.