Real Life Goes Virtual: Explore the Online Exhibit

In 1999, Medical Teams saw an opportunity. An opportunity to bring people into the places around the world we work through a small exhibit – right here in the Pacific Northwest. Guests would walk through reproductions of a garbage dump in Mexico, where children lived in squalor. A decrepit Romanian orphanage. A hospital in Moldova so dilapidated it was hard to believe people went there to be healed. As people took in the vignettes, they were deeply moved. They could experience the sights, sounds and smells of the places Medical Teams works.

Visitor in the Real Life Exhibit
A visitor in the Mexico dump vignette of the Real Life Exhibit

Fast forward 20 years. This small dream grew into a 10,000 square foot permanent museum, updating and expanding as the years went on. Since it’s inauguration in 2006, the Real Life Exhibit, hosted at our headquarters in Tigard, Oregon, has seen over 100,000 visitors. On a weekly basis, we host school groups, businesses, churches, individual visitors and more, providing an immersive museum experience coupled with a unique and personal reflection time at the end of the tour.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Medical Teams quickly pivoted our work to serve the needs of the community. To keep our community safe, we needed to close the Exhibit. This allowed us to explore a new way of bringing the Exhibit alive – through an online platform!

Today, we’re pleased to release the Virtual Real Life Exhibit, a custom online experience accessible through a web browser. While the physical museum remains closed, we’ve created an engaging digital version for you to enjoy at home with your friends and family. The Virtual Real Life Exhibit shows snapshots of the work we’ve done around the world in the last 40 years, including our work here in the U.S. It tells the stories of real people who received life-saving care through Medical Teams.

The landing page of the Virtual Real Life Exhibit
The landing page of the Virtual Real Life Exhibit

All these stories are true stories. Stories of heartbreak and loss. Stories of redemption and healing. Stories of fear and resilience.

In this virtual experience, you’ll meet Janet, a woman who escaped violence, endured incredible loss, and eventually found joy. 

Janet Manihiro, a Congolese refugee, holding her daughter Vanesa Asante
Janet Manihiro, a Congolese refugee, holding her daughter Vanesa Asante

You will meet Harun, a little boy who witnessed unimaginable brutality and found himself living in the world’s largest refugee camp. 

Harun, a Rohingya refugee living in Bangladesh
Harun, a Rohingya refugee living in Bangladesh

And you’ll meet Shaza, a young student who thought her dreams of working in healthcare were over when she fled the Syrian war.  

Shaza, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon
Shaza, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon

The Virtual Real Life Exhibit is free of cost and will inspire you to take action today. Learn about the work of Medical Teams from the comfort of your home, anywhere and at any time. Take the free tour here!


Sign up here to be notified when the Real Life Exhibit reopens for visitors in Tigard, Oregon.

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