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and therefore to discuss the theme of integration, interculturality etc. We reconstructed parts of Grand Central Terminal in New York in the year 1913. It is a place of transit, both physical and symbolic—from being an emigrant to an immigrant. Here, a German mother with her child asks where the train to Chicago leaves: it is a way of talking about the movement of German people in the U.S.

In the second room we have a waiting hall where we tell stories of German Americans from 1683 to today. This is the last room of the historical tour. After that, the visitor is shown the history of immigration to Germany in the last 300 years. How should be it be displayed? We decided to rebuild a 1973 shopping mall, a key date not only because it was the year when organised labour migration to Germany stopped, and so many family members started arriving, but also because it was only three years after the opening of Eastern Europe following visit of the former Chancellor Willy Brandt to Warsaw. We could have chosen another year, but it was important for us to have a historical flavour, and we did not want to portray the Germany of today because the following year it would be old. So, we chose a public place again, because this allows us to meet all the members of society, all the social classes and the different nationalities etc.

We have a German department store, a supermarket, a travel agency, a hairdresser, and of course “Eis” (ice-cream sellers), this is important because of all the Italian ice-cream makers who came to Germany. The idea is that the visitors discover migration in Germany in everyday life, so we chose shops representing different aspects of integration: the hairdresser, for example, stands for appearance, the way one looks, which is of course very important. Past the hairdresser the visitor finds the antiques shop. This is a very important shop because here we deal with the theme of religion, identity, tradition and what in Germany we call Heimat, something linked with the concept of “home.” For example, here we show objects referring to different religions—we have “memory objects” from Protestants, Lutherans, Calvinists, Catholics, Muslims, Jews and Serbian Orthodox, the latter offered to the museum by refugees from the former Yugoslavia—, so the visitor can compare each faith with another and find out which objects were worshipped by different groups of migrants. The visitors then find a photo studio where we display albums, designed like those personal photo albums that are kept in almost every family. This display is very popular because it rouses the curiosity and allows the visitors to have a closer look at people they have never met. In the department store one can see how we work with the objects from our collections. You can see “memory objects” displayed together with real objects that were sold in a department store in 1973. In a showcase you can see fake Diesel jeans, an obvious western status symbol, made by Vietnamese workers in the GDR. Most of these Vietnamese people stayed after the fall of the Berlin wall. Another example is two drinking bottles looking almost the same at first glance, but one is from 1973, while the other belonged to a miner from Poland in 1953 Visitors can compare two objects that look the same but tell different stories. The idea we suggest is

Profile for POLITECNICO DI MILANO-DPA

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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