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  • British report on migration museum holds potential for Ireland

    the A UK think tank has produced a paper asking whether there is a case for a major museum of migration in the UK; the suggestions it contains are highly relevant for Ireland.

    As Barbara Roche, the chair of the Migration Museum Working Group and former UK Minister for Immigration, says, “The establishment of a Museum of Migration, and indeed the journey towards it, would be a powerful signal that the UK has embraced the centrality of migration in our national life. Emigration and immigration are bound up with what it means to be British. ”

    The same, could of course, be said about Ireland. Ireland currently has no national museum of emigration, although there are a number of smaller attractions that base their appeal on their links to emigrant history. The Dunbrody Visitor Center in New Ross, however, is slated to become a new national emigration history centre with a geneological facility and several exhibitions relating to the emigrant experience.

    The report makes several recommendations; many of these are worthy of consideration for Ireland as well.

    1. Establish a “Migration in Museums” steering group
    2. Build a “Migration in Museums” coalition consisting of key players
    3. Create a “brand identity” to link up existing initiatives
    4. Establish a migration heritage web portal or “virtual museum”
    5. Encourage the reinterpretation of existing collections from a migration perspective
    6. Create a database of researchers working on migration history
    7. Create a schools outreach programme
    8. Establish an international outreach programme to capture the stories of migration and settlement from British emigrants abroad
    9. “Moving Stories”: a major touring exhibition for 2012
    10. Establish a Museum of Migration as a “hub with spokes”

    The recommendation about a brand identity to link up several initiatives is a good one for Ireland; an emigrant museum network could be a useful tour for tourists; a virtual museum could arise out of such a network as well.

    Ireland already has several programmes running to capture stories of emigrants; oral history among older Irish emigrants around the world is currently a popular and worthwhile activity. Linking them up would be useful and would give a larger profile to individual initiatives.

    The Irish Emigration Curriculum website could be used as a tool in a schools outreach program.


    The entire report is well worth reading:

    Related web pages: