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An exhibit about cardiology at a science museum is an elaborate form of health communication, with messaging happening across text, pictures, models, and videos. This qualitative case study uses concepts of speech act sequencing and interpellation to explain a series of multimodal exhibits about cardiovascular health. Health exhibits are described as verbal and audiovisual arguments combining assertions of information; directives to change behavior, and designations of risk candidacy—or sequences of assertive, directive, and declarative speech acts. Visitors are targeted as heart disease candidates according to their risk factors, such as hypertension, overweight, and inactivity. Communication research focused on health exhibits is rare, and this article presents a new way of looking at them that contributes to the current discussions about controlling language. Implications for health communication scholars and multimedia message designers are explored.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Health Communication on Feb. 2, 2018, available online:

Available for download on Friday, August 02, 2019