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Understanding the Importance of Migration at the Immigration Museum

Question:

Discuss About The Migration Encountersn In Immigration Museum?

This site has been selected because it displays the rich and vast history of Australia. Migration indeed is a very complex and deep subject. Migration is at the very core of the society, politics and the economy of every part of the world. Australia is no exception. Refugees have been very much a part of the Australian society as well for over a period of about 200 years. It is needless to say that there can be no other place better than the Immigration Museum of Melbourne for the proper understanding of the immigration history as it has a huge collection of the evidence and pieces of history. The Immigration Museum has opened a permanent exhibition in the year 2003 called getting in which mainly explores the journey of all the refugees and the asylum seekers in Australia over the long span of 200 long years (Immigration Museum 2018). This museum is perhaps the best place for the seeking the answers to questions like why people leave their birthplaces and move here and what are their experiences.

The Immigration Museum at Melbourne is one of the most important and oldest buildings of the 19th century. It was basically the old customs house building that used to record all the goods that entered and left Victoria. One of the most important parts of this building is the long room. One of the important features that are seen from this museum I the gold rush, a new design for the custom house was planned and was built by Peter Kerr (Gosselin and Livingstone 2016).

So, this building was basically a custom house that has been restored and recognized as the Immigration Museum in the year 1998. This museum is a wing of the Museum Victoria that displays the cultural and the scientific collections of the state of Victoria. This museum displays the rich and glorifying the history of the refugees that have arrived in Australia between the years 1974 to 1981. Though there was a good advantage for Britain in this context because it was a land of much diversity. The newcomers or the refugees coming in Australia would have all the advantages of getting a common and shared culture, language, history. So, apparently it seemed that fitting in or getting adjusted would be a very easy task but it was always not so. This museum tries to display the lives, times and the experiences of all the refugees. This site has been chosen because there one can get hold of a large number of interesting exhibitions that comprises of the works and the artifacts of the refugees and also the volunteers who have taken part in the different campaigns dealing with the refugees (Museumsvictoria.com.au 2018). There are both temporary and permanent exhibitions taking place on the floors of the museums. It is the best place to begin one's research about knowing the rich history of the refugees. Several community exhibitions and community cultural festivals are held in the Immigration Museum. It is in these festivals and exhibitions that the museum invites several other organizations for the planning and development of the future initiatives, development of the historic collections and the researchers. This connection between the museum and the other interested communities will help in community building (Immigration Museum 2018). This is indeed the key factor to the success of understanding the refugee histories. This is also very useful for understanding such projects as it gathers feedback from the students who are undertaking such projects.

History of the Immigration Museum Melbourne


There were several striking features that I saw right after stepping into the museum. The most important one is the question why did you and your family come to Australia? This question is validated by many different pictures, clips, videos that show the different reasons that have led these people to come to (Australia Museumsvictoria.com.au 2018). There are different reasons for war, famines, family, disasters and many other such reasons. In the year 1851, there was the discovery of gold and this at once attracted a large number of immigrants from different parts of the world. It is also evident from the artifacts of the museum that the largest number of immigrants in Australia is from England, Ireland, Scotland, China and Germany. There was also this information that could be obtained from the museum that there were several agents hired in Britain who were paid for recruiting the immigrants especially the unmarried women and the children to Victoria. Almost all the anti-Chinese legislations were reversed and gradually it became the fourth largest immigrant group in Australia after the British the Irish and the Germans. People who made success at the gold fields carried gold back home and others got success in different other professions.


There is also evidence that proves the experience of the refugees. One of the evidence found in the museum talks about one such refugee called Edda. She had the dreams of traveling to a distant land and decided to sail to (Melbourne Museumsvictoria.com.au2018). She undertook this journey in spite of getting all objections from her family. She had the dream of a better fortune within her eyes but due to some problem in her visa, she could not accompany her husband. She traveler a year later reunited with her husband and started working for Ricardo Knitwear (Skartveit and Goodnow 2010). Her husband also became a boilermaker and together they started hood amount of money. They built a home for themselves and also had a son. They were also quite active in the Italian migrant society. Thus, it is only after they had taken refuge in Australia that they were able to find a new life (Nma.gov.au 2018). They could find freedom and happiness in Australia that was not available in Italy. However it is also evident that many of the refugees earlier had to face many racial discriminations as well as a result of this, there was the Migration Act (1973) and later the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) which strongly opposed the discriminatory practices of the White Australia Policy. The immigrants are selected from three broad categories

Exhibitions and Artifacts at the Immigration Museum Melbourne

Stream immigration was emphasized in the year during the 1970s and the 1980s. Efforts were being made to unite the refugees with their families.

It was in the 1980s, that Government was now trying to make a provision for the refugees with a certain skill or any particular know-how. It was mainly done through the business migration program.

The Government also started making efforts to provide relief to those refugees who were in utter need of resettlement. This was mainly done on the humanitarian grounds.

The one gap that has been identified in the Immigration Museum is the lack of proper involvement of people. In order to carry on the Immigration projects properly, they have to collect proper feedback sessions from the persons visiting their museums. It is the duty of the museum staffs, to make sure that they have involved several staffs in their work so that they can easily run their work properly (Sherman 2018). The museum staffs have to keep in mind that they are not only merely running an institution that displays the historic pieces talking about the great immigration history of Australia, but they are an educational institution as a whole. There are many colleges and universities that have students taking up their projects related to the immigration history of Australia. It is for this reason that they visit the museum and try to gather more information on their projects. The one problem that the museum is currently facing is the lack of sufficient amount of cash. They have to accumulate more amounts of cash in order to expand their operations and become a permanent institution. They cannot afford to continue working just as a repository of the old and the ancient objects. They have to form new collaborations. In other words, the museums have to make an extensive research and form collaborative groups with well known and important organizations, groups or people. They have to be collaborative and they will also have to seek and support from all the important groups that will help in providing them the proper support for their expansion. It is important for the immigration museum to know what our current challenges and issues that are being faced at the current time. The major gap that is existing within the Immigration Museum is the shortage of enough amounts of cash and the lack of other resources to become a powerful and more educational group (Sherman 2018). They have to take into account all the current issues related to immigration and use it in its own operations so that it gains the status of a permanent museum.  They have to develop and uplift themselves for the betterment of their present and their future.

References

Nma.gov.au 2018. Understanding Museums: Australian Museums and Museology. [online] Nma.gov.au. Available at: https://nma.gov.au/research/understanding-museums/ [Accessed 24 Jan. 2018].

Gosselin, V. and Livingstone, P. eds., 2016. Museums and the past: Constructing historical consciousness. UBC Press.

Immigration Museum 2018. Immigration Museum. [online] Available at: https://museumsvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/ [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018].

Museumsvictoria.com.au 2018. Old Customs House: Immigration Museum. [online] Available at: https://museumsvictoria.com.au/website/immigrationmuseum/discoverycentre/old-customs-house/ [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018].

Museumsvictoria.com.au 2018. Step Inside: Immigration Museum. [online] Available at: https://museumsvictoria.com.au/website/immigrationmuseum/discoverycentre/old-customs-house/step-inside/index.html [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018].

Schorch, P., 2014. The cosmohermeneutics of migration encounters at the Immigration Museum, Melbourne. Museum Worlds, 2(1), pp.81-98.

Schorch, P., Walton, J., Priest, N. and Paradies, Y., 2015. Encountering the ‘other’: interpreting student experiences of a multi-sensory museum exhibition. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 36(2), pp.221-240.

Sherman, S. 2018. The Migration Museum Wants To Show That The Refugee Crisis Is More Than Just Statistics. [ebook] Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3061149/this-migration-museum-wants-to-show-that-the-refugee-crisis-is-more-than-just-statistics [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018].

Skartveit, H.L. and Goodnow, K.J. eds., 2010. Changes in museum practice: New media, refugees and participation (Vol. 5). Berghahn Book

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