Thinking Through Migration

Embedding Place and Experience in Museum Displays

We need only watch the news to see that we live in an age of migrations. Species, humans, peoples, objects, practices and ideas migrate. Migration plays out across international politics, across divided lands and in people’s lives. It fundamentally affects our sense of place and belonging.

THINK?NG THROUGH MIGRATION is a FREE online toolkit developed by academic researchers and museum professionals. It is designed to help museums respond to the phenomenon of migration and its complex contemporary challenges.

We hope you will keep coming back to access more of the free resources as they are added.

Action Topics

Our Action Topics can help you think through migration in relation to various aspects of museum practice.

Nutshells

We briefly explore definitions and explanations of some of the key subjects within the Thinking Through Migration toolkit.

Case Studies

This section will be populated with case studies on the theme of migration.

Voices

This section will be populated with transcripts from visitor studies on the theme of migration undertaken in 2013-14 as part of the MeLa European Museums in the Age of Migrations project

Latest Resources Added:

Mission

Download full text and planning exercise.

Resources

Objects

Download the full Action Topic text.

Resources

Interaction

One way of engaging visitors actively with the theme of migration is to build interactive elements into displays.

Action Topics

Displays

Human migrations can form a difficult and sensitive topic. How can we use display techniques also to deal with tensions and difficult stories?

Action Topics

Collections

The collections in your museum probably contain things that have travelled around the world, perhaps collected by people who did the same.

Action Topics

Audiences

Audiences can help you think about ways to encourage audience understanding and empathy with migration issues.

Action Topics

Mobility

Mobility is a term with multiple meanings. Questions of social mobility examine the ease or difficulty with which people move between social groups and strata.

Nutshells

What is migration?

Definitions of migration are varied, not least because in museums we may be interested not just in human migrations but in the ways that species, objects, ideas, and cultural practices travel.

Nutshells

Home

In the context of migration, it is crucial to understand the idea of ‘home’ and how this word is used variously by different people, at different times, in different places, and/or in different languages.

Nutshells

Objects

Artefacts migrate with humans and tell different stories of their travels. They can be bearers of meaning, objects of attachment, comfort, despair or utility that connect to places, identities and experiences.

Action Topics

Mission

Having a clear definition of ‘mission’ will help you focus the strategic direction of your museum and its relationship to migration.

Action Topics

Co-Production

Co-production is a way of avoiding the liabilities of the museum speaking for others, through a process of speaking with communities.

Action Topics