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A small metropolis. Approaches to migration in the city museums of Antwerp
Social Sciences and Humanities Journal (SSHJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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Two new city museums are on the verge of opening in Antwerp, and migration will be a very important issue on display in both institutions, albeit with different approaches. In this contribution we want to reflect on The paper of migration and migrants in both museums: the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS, opening in May 2011) and the Red Star Line | People on the move (opening in spring 2012). The impact of migration on urban daily life in Antwerp, from the 16th century until today, will be a red tape in different stories which are presented on the MAS floors especially related to urban history, called Stad in de Wereld (City in the World), and the evolution of the port. One of the aims of MAS is to become a site of dialogue and reflection on the citys past and present, its cultural diversity, and globalisation. In other words, the MAS narrative will be open and create a way to co-production. Red Star Line | People on the move (RSLPOM) displays the story of the shipping company Red Star Line (1873- 1934) and its role in migration from Europe to North-America through the port of Antwerp. In the MAS exhibition the focus will lie on the journey itself, with Antwerp figuring as a place of transit. Further, we will present our strategy of including migrants in our work. As RSL-POM and the MAS are still works in progress, we also want to reflect on the issues which we expect to meet when we step outside our museums and start to interact with both urban policy and reality.

Author(s): Leen Beyers, Jan Parmentier, Bram Beelaert
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