Museum Friedland, photograph by Karlheinz Otto

European museum network helps tell refugee stories 

Simon Stephens, 08.06.2016
Nemo publishes Museums, Migration and Cultural Diversity
A new publication by the Network of European Museum Organisations (Nemo) aims to help museums work more effectively with diverse communities, including migrants and refugees.

Museums, Migration and Cultural Diversity: Recommendations for Museum Work is designed to make organisations aware of their potential in the context of diverse societies undergoing rapid change. The publication was originally produced by the German Museums Association for its members but has now been translated into English.

“We all know that migration is not a new phenomenon and has always been part of humanity,” writes Nemo chairman David Vuillaume and secretary general Julia Pagel in the publication.

“But we are now facing – at least in Europe – a situation that has no precedent in history. Millions of refugees have come to Europe in the last few years in order to find a new life. Many of them will stay.

“This is a moment when culture can prove how valuable it can be to society. Culture, cultural heritage and museums can offer flexibility and individual, tailored answers to the challenges of integrating migrants and refugees in society.”

Museums, Migration and Cultural Diversity says that museums have been places of intercultural dialogue since their inception. The publication highlights a range of models of how museums can work with migrant groups and help to support intercultural dialogue.

Nemo will be highlighting how museums can act in partnership across Europe to create innovative programmes at the Museums Association conference in Glasgow (7-9 November). This will include speakers from Museum Friedland in Germany and Jamtli Open Air Museum in Sweden discussing projects they are working on with refugees and migrants.