"Marriage Is..." is an interactive exhibit that educates viewers about the problem of forced marriage within the United States. This exhibit is meant to lead viewers through a story, create empathy, and change their expectations and assumptions surrounding marriage. The exhibit could only take up a 10x10 foot space, placed within the lobby/entrance of a large educational institution, like the New York Public Library. A library attracts an educated audience who is interested in learning, and of a wide age range, which is perfect for interaction with the exhibit.
The exhibit begins with an interactive chalkboard that asks viewers their thoughts on marriage, and invites them to share their responses.
After the initial chalkboard, the viewer would enter a short corridor that would introduce them to a hypothetical victim of forced marriage. The story is written in second person, to create greater empathy within the viewer. As the viewer is led through the story, they learn more about what communities may be vulnerable to forced marriage, and how people, often young women, get put in this situation. An example display is seen below.
After the viewer progresses through the story, they would encounter facts and statistics about forced marriage in the United States. Then, they would enter into a space of change, walking through a plastic barrier (not pictured). This barrier would be lettered with the phrase "Marriage can be forced," further emphasizing the message of the story. In the change-making space, the viewer would be able to contribute to the "future of marriage" chalkboard, and take stickers and paper fliers that offer ways they can volunteer and share awareness. The "future of marriage" chalkboard asks the viewer to contemplate what marriage may look like in the future. The paper takeaways are themed off of wedding invitations, using similar bright colors and cursive typefaces. In this exhibit, I have hypothetically partnered with the organization Unchained At Last, which advocates for victims of forced marriage in the United States.