information for transformational people

Migrants 1 246How migration has shaped who we are 

From information from the Migration Museum

The Migration Museum explores how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has shaped identity – as individuals, as communities, and as a nation.

Migration is a pressing contemporary issue and is at the centre of polarised political and online debate, yet few of Britain’s thousands of museums comprehensively focus on this important theme that connects all people. The museum’s objective is to provide human stories and educational content as a counter-narrative to the increasingly negative political and media representation of refugees, asylum seekers, migrants. Focusing on changing attitudes about migration, generating greater empathy, and developing cultural awareness of British immigration history and impact, the museum hopes to spark more meaningful dialogue on the topic of migration. 

The museum delivers a number of activities including staging exhibitions and events, providing workshops and educational programming for primary, secondary, university and adult learners, as well as convening a network of museums and galleries across the UK to share knowledge and best practice on how to increase and improve work on migration themes across all regions and nations of the UK.

The Migration Museum was founded by Barbara Roche, who first made the case for a migration museum for Britain almost 20 years ago, stemming from her time as Britain’s immigration minister, and from visiting similar museums in other parts of the world – notably Ellis Island in New York. 

Between 2013 and 2017, the Migration Museum staged pop-up exhibitions and events and ran education workshops at a wide range of venues across the UK, including the Southbank Centre, the National Maritime Museum and City Hall in London, the Museum of Oxford, Leicester railway station, and the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. From 2017 to 2019, the Migration Museum was based in a former London Fire Brigade workshop in Lambeth, London, where it reached over 30,000 visitors through a series of acclaimed exhibitions and events. 

Since 2020, the Migration Museum has been based in a venue in the heart of Lewisham Shopping Centre in south London. Longer term, the Migration Museum continues to scope and seek permanent locations for a national Migration Museum for Britain.

Around 14,000 students from 400 schools, colleges and universities have participated in workshops run by the Migration Museum’s education team since 2013. The Migration Museum’s education team has delivered teacher training to hundreds of new teachers and is engaged in consultation and input into the national curriculum through its partnerships with major examination boards.

Their latest immersive Exhibition, opened on 9th April 2022, is 'Taking Care of Business'. It shines a light on the central role that migrant entrepreneurs have played in shaping our lives.

From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, the apps on our phones to the products in our homes, our lives wouldn’t be the same without migrant entrepreneurs. So many of the brands and businesses that are integral to our lives – from corner shops to tech giants – are the products of migration. Yet we so rarely hear this story.

Entrepreneurship has always been at the heart of the immigrant experience. For many, starting a business is the only way to survive in a new land. Others arrive with an idea – and the skills and networks to help get it off the ground. Migrant entrepreneurs are good at spotting gaps in the market. They often serve communities ignored by other businesses, or even creating new markets for their ideas. Starting a business as an immigrant requires hard work and sacrifice, resilience and ingenuity.

Migrant entrepreneurship and innovation is a story to be celebrated.

Watch this 30 second video:

Find more details of the Exhibition here.

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From information from the Migration Museum, 25/05/2022

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