In this article published by MuseumNext, Charlotte Coates writes about recent experiences concerning the relationship between museums and migrants. Among the resources she also includes our blog: thank you, Charlotte!


How do museums fit into the narrative around the refugee and migrant crisis? Migration is a big political issue, both in North America and Europe. Refugees are defined as people who have been forced to leave their home country. This is usually due to war, famine, natural disasters or human-rights issues. A migrant is a person who has made a choice to leave their home country and seek a better life, for a variety of reasons. Historically, the US has resettled many more refugees than any other country. Museums can play a key role in welcoming these newcomers into their communities.

How can museums work with refugees and migrants?

Museums around the world are working with migrants and refugees in different ways. Some museums have worked to give refugees a voice, highlighting their personal stories. This can help people to identify with the human side of the crisis. It also helps to counteract the stigma that is sometimes associated with being an immigrant. Other institutions have collaborated with refugees to gain insight from their experiences. Refugees have worked as tour guides or helped visitors to connect with collections.

There are also museums dedicated to exploring the migrant experience throughout history. These explain some of the complex issues involved and lend a historical perspective. Other galleries and exhibitions showcase artistic works created by refugees and migrants.

Read full article by Charlotte Coates here.