Region – The National Museum of Mental Health Project, Inc. (NMMHP), a group initially formed in 2019, has been incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with an expanded mission to develop virtual exhibits that transform society’s understanding of mental health.
The work of NMMHP founders Paul Piwko, a professor in the Grenon School of Business at Assumption University, and Alexandra Orlandi, a Hudson resident, AU alumna and Mental Health Specialist at McLean Hospital, initially focused on researching and publishing the benefits of mental health exhibitions. Prior to the pandemic, the display of mental health exhibitions in museums, airports, and malls was increasing. NMMHP now seeks to expand this trend from brick-and-mortar establishments to the internet at a time when museums are increasing their online visibility and the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented need for mental health resources.
NMMHP exhibitions will promote mental health literacy by sharing personal narratives and expanding vocabulary.
“Learning about mental illness and wellness isn’t just about reading textbooks, listening to lectures, or seeing a therapist. Learning is also observing and exploring,” Orlandi said.
NMMHP is currently developing its first exhibition, I Get It, which will launch in 2021 on its website and via social media. The website was designed by Assumption alumna Kate Kruzick and launched via Wifi hotspot from the grounds of the Medfield State Hospital Cemetery–a place of early inspiration for the Project.
Although NMMHP seeks a national audience for its research and exhibitions, all founding board members are residents of MetroWest and Worcester County. Piwko and board secretary Anne Walton are Milford residents, and Orlandi lives in Hudson. Piwko and Orlandi completed a research fellowship about mental health exhibitions and have been published by numerous news outlets, including the Des Moines Register, the Omaha World-Herald, and the MetroWest Daily News. They presented their work to the New England Museum Association in 2018 and will be presenting at the 2021 Mental Health America Annual Conference.
Click here for more information about NMMHP and its plans for its inaugural exhibition I Get It. Anyone seeking additional information or offering to volunteer or donate can contact the group by email at [email protected].
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