Theme and content of the exhibition

Forced From Home is an interactive, educational outdoor exhibition presented by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It is designed to raise public awareness about the experience of the world’s more than 68.5 million refugees and internally displaced people. Guided by experienced MSF aid workers, visitors gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to be forced from their homes, and the vital medical and humanitarian aid MSF provides.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. We have medical projects in over 70 countries around the world.

Visitors begin their experience inside a 30-foot dome watching a 360° video introducing contexts and issues causing people to flee their homes. With an experienced MSF aid worker as their guide, visitors are then led through an interactive exhibition employing a blend of new technology and field-tested medical and logistical humanitarian resources. The exhibition also gives visitors the opportunity to view materials and images gathered from refugee camps, Mediterranean rescue missions, and MSF’s projects working with displaced populations around the world. Visitors will also be invited to experience virtual reality (VR) films that will transport them into refugee camps and communities around the world.

Absolutely. All of our guides and many of the personnel staffing the exhibit are aid workers that have worked on MSF programs overseas, along with staff from MSF’s New York City office.

Forced From Home aims to provide visitors with diverse perspectives from the global refugee crisis, including the experiences of Central American migrants in Mexico, many of whom seek safety and asylum in the United States. MSF works in El Salvador and Honduras, and has been providing medical and mental health care along Mexico’s migratory routes since 2012. We treat patients who have survived physical and mental trauma akin to what our organization usually sees in war zones. Forced From Home’s 360-degree video dome and virtual reality documentaries depict some of their stories.

As an organization, MSF has condemned new U.S. immigration policies which criminalize asylum seekers and deny safety to people fleeing extreme conflict and violence. MSF calls on the U.S. to uphold protections for neglected and at-risk people, such as those fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence, while ensuring humane treatment for those who arrive at its borders. All people have the right to seek asylum, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Seeking safety is not a crime.

Forced From Home is first and foremost a public education program to raise awareness about the experience of the world’s more than 68.5 million refugees and internally displaced people. While the exhibition is not a fundraising event, visitors are given the opportunity to leave a donation if they choose to.

In 2017, the exhibition traveled to Boulder, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Santa Monica, and Seattle. In 2016, Forced From Home visited Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. Forced From Home’s mobile pop-up exhibit also traveled throughout the U.S. in the Spring of 2017 and 2018, visiting select cities and campuses in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

In 2018, the Forced From Home exhibition will travel to Minneapolis, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, and San Antonio. For more information, please check the events listings per city.

No. As an international medical humanitarian aid organization, MSF only works overseas. This exhibition focuses on the refugees and displaced populations in some of the areas where we work.

We aim to make the exhibition as informative and educational as possible, and as such the experience has been designed to encourage visitors to imagine what life is like for the more than 68.5 million people on the move globally. All interactive elements are optional and visitors are not required to participate if they do not wish to.

The exhibition will primarily focus on the experience of the world’s more than 68.5 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Health issues include upper respiratory chest infections, skin infections, cholera, maternal health, and chronic and neglected diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The exhibition will also briefly touch on new challenges that MSF faces such as diabetes, hypertension, and others.

In addition to the basic human right to access to medical care, the exhibition also explores issues such as the factors that cause people to flee their homes; the legal status(es) they have along their journeys; and their access to basic needs such as food, shelter, and clean, safe water. International agreements governing the responsibilities of various government and nongovernment entities will also be addressed.

The tour is most appropriate for those aged 12 and older. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Parents with children in strollers are welcome to attend, but due to space constraints in the exhibition strollers may not enter the exhibition itself. A “stroller park” will be available and staffed by a volunteer, but MSF is not responsible for any lost property.

There is no graphic material on display, but the content is most appropriate for those aged 12 and older.

Forced From Home is a brand-new exhibition that began in 2016 and specifically focuses on people on the move. While the guided tour format is similar, visitors that previously attended A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City can expect an entirely different experience at Forced From Home.

Planning your visit

Yes!

No. The exhibition is set up for walk-up entry. However, you may have to wait in line to enter.

From the time the tour begins, you will spend about 45 minutes being guided through the exhibition by your aid worker tour guide. If you would like to spend time asking your guide questions or learning more in our Virtual Reality or Take Action tents, it is best to allow a minimum of one hour for your tour. The best way to minimize the wait for your tour is to come on a weekday or early on a weekend. There is also a series of optional activities at the end of the guided tour, including a virtual reality experience, social media interactions, and a chance to spend some time asking more questions of your guide.

Forced From Home is an all-weather event, so the chances of cancellation are slim. If we determine that the weather will make the event unsafe you can also stay up-to-date on events in your city by following the @forcedfromhome Twitter account, or through your city’s page on www.forcedfromhome.com.

Unfortunately, no. Being guided by a Doctors Without Borders aid worker through the exhibition is an integral part of the experience. You will hear first-hand experiences and stories and be able to ask questions. Self-guided tours are not available. You may come and participate in the Virtual Reality portion of the exhibition without taking a tour but access to the tour scenes is only available with a guide.

You can learn more about planned school field trips to the exhibition here. The best way to arrange a field trip is to contact us directly. Please e-mail us at schools@newyork.msf.org and we will help you set up a field trip visit.

We will conduct one Spanish language tour, one French language tour, and one American Sign Language (ASL) tour per city. For more information, please check the events listings per city.

Complete a group registration form at least 48 hours prior to your visit and we will be in touch to arrange a tour time. Please e-mail groups@newyork.msf.org with any questions.

We encourage our visitors to take public transportation, as parking is limited in many of our locations. The best source for all of this information is the events listings per city.

Yes, and we encourage you to do so! Feel free to share them on social media using the hashtag #ForcedFromHome.

No. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate pets within the exhibition. Service animals are permitted. 

No food or consumable products are served as part of the tour.

Amenities

The exhibition is wheelchair-accessible, and we have volunteers available to help guide blind and vision impaired visitors. Additionally, we will have one tour per city with an ASL interpreter. For more information about this tour, please check the events listings per city. For any further questions about accessibility at the exhibition, please e-mail forcedfromhome@newyork.msf.org.

Drinking water is available on site free of charge. We ask visitors to please bring their own water bottles. There is no food or drink for sale within the exhibition.

Yes. Toilets will only be provided at the exhibition in instances where there are no nearby public restrooms.

No. There are no lockers on site and due to the nature of the event we recommend you carry as little as possible with you. We will have a place for parents to park strollers however MSF is not responsible for these items.

Contact information

Forced From Home is a big event that requires lots of volunteers to help run it smoothly. To learn about the responsibilities and requirements, and to sign up, visit the volunteer page.

Doctors Without Borders conducts ongoing recruitment for both field workers and office staff. Further information about positions available and the recruitment process is available here.

Please visit the press page for more information.

You can find more information on our website about different ways to partner with us, and you can donate here.

Please contact us directly at Exhibitions@newyork.msf.org with your name, cell number, a description of the item(s) and when you attended the exhibition. We will do our best to help.

If you have additional questions, please e-mail forcedfromhome@newyork.msf.org.