This paper provides a comparative historical perspective of how Australian museums have exhibited stories of migration over the past three decades, with a focus on the use of objects. The pioneering of community access spaces, collecting of oral histories, innovative use of art-as-object and the development of theatrical recreations or props are all features of these exhibitions. Recent critiques have suggested that early migration exhibitions were uncritically ‘multicultural’ and represented only the “external markers of ethnicity”; however, this study reveals that curators in fact challenged and changed museum practice in negotiating these difficult histories. Examples are drawn from archival research and interviews with past and present curators of Australian museums, including the Migration Museum in Adelaide, the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, and the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
|Keywords:||Museums, Migration, Multiculturalism, Exhibitions, Objects, Australian History|
PhD Candidate, School of History and Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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