Exchanging Memories in the Australian Museum: Migrant Stories and Bonegilla Migrant Centre

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    In Australia, museum exhibitions play an important social function in both framing and reflecting collective memories of immigration. Since the 1980s, Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre has emerged as a key part of the national immigration story. But its representation in the museum space necessitates the negotiation of some difficult terrain: capturing the migrant experience of some 320,000 displaced persons and assisted migrants over a twenty-four year history is a nigh impossible task. Bonegilla has been the subject of many small, large, touring, and temporary museum exhibitions since the 1990s. The histories they present work with or struggle against stakeholders and other important memory groups involved in the commemoration of the Bonegillaseparate ethnic organizations, local councils, heritage agencies, former residents associations, and invested individuals and their families. Analyzing the processes and peoples that surround public history efforts, how groups and individuals get invested in the site, and what responses and uses they make of it, can provide important methodological implications for the developing and intersecting fields of memory and museology studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-55pp
    JournalMuseums and Social Issues
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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