Immigration Museums

One of the ways societies create a link between the different sectors and communities is through the collection of material, preserving old and new and creating a space for the exploration of ideas, cultures, sciences and every day life.

it’s usually a museum where we can do this. In Australia, there’s local, statewide and national museums addressing different parts of our culture and history. I personally would love to have a media museum where we can examine the media’s impact on social and political issues in Australia . However, i think an even bigger story is that of immigration to this country. there’s no doubt that it was immigration which changed the face of Australia– particularly post war immigration. but how many Australians can say they have an in depth and empowered understanding of immigration and what it means to live in a culturally diverse society?

Last night I was watching Q and A on the ABC . They had some right wing party ( whose name I can’t recall) which wanted to change the planning laws to allow Councils to refuse certain development applications on the basis of social and cultural difference. This was in the context of Camden Council’s rejection of a planning application by an Islamic school. They had rejected it on planning grounds –traffic flows etc…

The Anti muslim climate in this country is astoundingly ugly and both the former federal government and the NSW government have been huge offenders in creating this climate. It’s been okay to be anti immigrant. specifically: anti Vietnamese, Arab and Muslim over the last 12 years. And there’s no place to at least talk this through and have the dialogue all democratic societies should have about who they are. No place in which to locate and anchor immigrant experiences –first or 5th generation. Questions have to be asked of the state government about why immigration and cultural diversity occupies such a pitiful place in the political landscape.

I’m part of a small loose group of people who are working towards creating an immigration museum in NSW. Victoria has one , South Australia has one. and NSW should have one because it’s where most immigrants have settled .

if you’re interested in joining us, or simply letting us know what you think, please feel free to leave a comment . this is a safe and open space and i look forward to hearing from you.

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Contoversially French

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/artworks/stories/2009/2443585.htm

The newest museum in Paris showcases 200 years of immigration, with objects and artworks that tell the story of France’s immigrant cultures. It’s a controversial project, though, at a time of racial tensions and when President Sarkozy is more interested in promoting integration than highlighting diversity.

(first broadcast 25 May 2008)

http://www.histoire-immigration.fr/

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2 Responses “Immigration Museums” →

  1. Darian Zam

    May 4, 2010

    Nice post Crankyoptimist. I think it’s a great idea. Over the last decade there has been plenty going on down the South Coast. What about the Migrant Heritage Project who have done a heap of work in the Illawarra (publications, exhibitions, working on getting the Migrant Hostel at Fairy Meadow heritage listed etc), and also the Migrant Heritage Centre at the Powerhouse Museum? Those two organisations regularly link in on projects such as the Macedonian Aprons show that was just on. But we can always do with more.


  2. crankyoptimist

    May 4, 2010

    Hello Darian,

    Thank for dropping by and for your support! yes i couldn’t agree more about the need for spaces for cultural diversity and heritage. so much has happened over the last decade, we need to talk about it all and create ongoing conversations…

    great to hear from you!

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