New Science Center Exhibit Makes Powerful Statement About Mental Health

Apr 25, 2019

A new traveling exhibit at the Science Center of Iowa is getting attention for the unique way it allows visitors to experience what its like to live with mental illness. 

The "Mind Matters" exhibit was adapted by the Science Museum of Minnesota from a Finnish project that was supposed to help decrease stigma and increase empathy.  There are several auditory elements of the exhibit that allow visitors to hear what kinds of voices and thoughts people living with depression or schizophrenia might have.  

"Even after just hearing a few seconds, you really feel it. You get a sense of how real that is. I've talked with visitors who have experienced that in their lives, and it's just so true," says Cari Dwyer, who is director of exhibit project management at the Science Museum of Minnesota. 

"Visitors who haven't experienced it have a sense that this isn't a choice a person is making. It's an illness," she says.  During this Talk of Iowa conversation, host Charity Nebbe talks with Dwyer and Sue Abderholden, who is executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota. Cheryl Harding, who is President of Health Partners Unity Point Health, also joins the conversation to talk about the launch of a new anti-stigma campaign in Iowa #MakeItOkay.  The exhibit will be at the Science Center in Des Moines through April 28, 2019.