Migration Memories is a research project about creating museum exhibitions of Australian migration history from local and personal perspectives. As the idea was to try out some approaches in practice, exhibitions were developed in two regional locations with individuals interested in developing a personal migration story for display.
The two regional locations were Lightning Ridge, an opal mining town in central north NSW, and Robinvale, a horticultural town on the Murray River in north western Victoria.
The personal stories were chosen to show migration as an aspect of Australian history that reverberates in some way for all Australians. They covered migration histories from the colonial period to the present and included the impact of colonising migrations on Indigenous peoples’ movements within Australia. They were developed from the participants’ own experience, or their understanding of a forebear’s experience, or their sense of the experience of people of the past who had inhabited a place that is dear to them. Seven personal stories were developed for each local exhibition.
Research material for analysis and discussion was provided by documentation of the process of exhibition development, the exhibitions themselves and conversations with visitors.
Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge was first exhibited at the Lightning Ridge Historical Society Gallery (18 August - 4 September 2006). Migration Memories: Robinvale was first exhibited at the Robinvale Leisure Centre (22 June - 2 July 2007). They were shown together at the National Museum of Australia (22 September - 28 November 2007). With the support of the National Museum the individual exhibitions have been returned to Lightning Ridge and Robinvale as a resource for the future.
The research was highly collaborative and many people were involved in the project. A full list of participants is available on the acknowledgements page.
Explore the Migration Memories research and exhibitions at http://migrationmemories.net.au/.