Immigration Museum

30/01/2011 § Leave a comment

Travelling from NZ, this is what impressed me the most
in Melbourne – they have an Immigration Museummaybe it was also the company of an amusing Italian (2nd generation) guy i stuck up a conversation with on the bus that contributed.

From 18th of March they are introducing a permanent exhibition “Identity: yours, mine, ours”;
“The exhibition focuses on how cultural heritage, languages, beliefs, and family connections have, and do, influence our self perceptions and our perceptions of others. Our perceptions can lead to discovery, confusion, prejudice and understanding.” – Immigration Museum website

There is also a link on their home page to “Origins” website where you are invited to choose a place of origin which leads to detailed information based on census data on the history of immigration from that land.
Eg: on Russia:
… “After World War II many Russians arrived on assisted passages from Displaced Persons camps in Europe. Their numbers in Victoria increased from 1,401 in 1947 to 13,762 in 1954…
In 2006, there were 5,684 Victorians born in Russian Federation, the majority of whom lived around the suburbs of Caulfield and Carnegie…  Most members of the community today are employed as professionals, and speak Russian at home (yay!).” – Origins site from Museum of Victoria

The museum seems to have a very balanced and positive outlook; “What would it take to make you leave your homeland and travel thousands of miles to another country?” begins one into into an exhibition. There is a lot said about new identities, about diverse Australian identities, and a big emphasis on acknowledging peoples different heritages. There is an acute sense that this place acknowledges that one of the biggest difficulties of immigration is sacrificing the environment where you grew up and having to begin afresh in an alien environment, but at the same time that is also what can unite us. – What can I say they make me feel warm and fuzzy!

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