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img. 4.07 — A room in the Museo dell’Emigrante, San Marino Republic. Photo by Anna Chiara Cimoli.

temporary society, and are designing new wings, exhibitions or sections where they can talk about immigration. The most recent example is that of the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven which, in 2012, opened a new wing dedicated to immigration to Germany, while the MeM section—dedicated half to emigration and half to immigration— was opened in 2011 in the Galata Museo del Mare e delle Migrazioni in Genoa, a maritime museum. Of course, exhibiting is not enough if this activity is not accompanied by an outreach and educational plan. Immigration museums such as the MhiC near Barcelona, or the younger Immigrantmuseet in Farum, are very much engaged in these activities, and the role they play in their “community” is clearly a positive one. They are cultural centres, closely connected with the territory they belong to through participatory outreach activities, workshops and conferences. They do not provide the same services as immigration centres (information, language courses etc.), but they do represent a point of reference for the immigrants. It is also likely that the extensive outreach activities organised by the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, long before its opening, through—for example—a van which travelled the city inviting the people to join, discuss, share, under the motto “Hier ben ik!” (Here I am!), will also have a positive effect in attracting migrant or second generation citizens.

The question about the mission or usefulness of migration museums should remain central. Talking about the usefulness of museums could, of course, seem inappropriate—is culture useful?—, but this particular typology, confronted with the urgencies of contemporary European history, the “failure” of multicultural societies, the present economic crisis and so on, raises the question in a very precise way. What should the role of a migration museum in Europe be? What masternarrative is more fruitful in keeping together a historical approach and a focus on contemporary

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European Museums in the 21st Century: Setting the Framework - Vol. 2  

This book grew out of the earliest work of the MeLa Research Field 6, “Envisioning 21st Century Museums,” aimed at exploring current trends...

European Museums in the 21st Century: Setting the Framework - Vol. 2  

This book grew out of the earliest work of the MeLa Research Field 6, “Envisioning 21st Century Museums,” aimed at exploring current trends...

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