The Australian National Maritime Museum is the national leader in collecting, researching and exhibiting stories about migration to Australia.
They have a permanent gallery dedicated to immigration called Passengers, 15,000 objects relating to immigration in the collection, and a Welcome Wall engraved with the names of 30,000 migrants.
The museum is partnering with the Empathy Museum (UK) to bring the award-winning exhibition A Mile in My Shoes to Sydney in January 2021 as part of the Sydney Festival.
A Mile in My Shoes is an immersive art experience inviting visitors to walk in someone else’s shoes – literally. Housed in a giant shoebox, the exhibit holds a diverse collection of shoes and shares audio stories that explore a theme.
Visitors are provided with a pair of shoes and an audio recording and encouraged to walk a mile listening to someone’s personal story.
The Maritime Museum will explore Australia’s diverse multicultural society and aims to strengthen social cohesion.
“Australia has long been recognised as one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world. Australia is unique, being home to the world’s oldest continuous culture, as well as Australians who identify with more than 300 ancestries. As Australians, we can focus on what connects us rather than divides us – our common humanity,“ says Kevin Sumption, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
COVID-19 has seen Australians adapt and come together in unprecedented ways but sadly there has also been a rise in acts of racism and scapegoating against people from some ethnic backgrounds.
The museum wants to shine the light on the experiences of a wide range of Australians from diverse backgrounds, to build understanding and contribute to an inclusive and harmonious society.
“By listening to their stories, we can all better understand where they have come from and what has shaped them,” said Sumption.
Last year the museum earned 45% of its revenue from ticket sales and other commercial activities. This year they were forced to close due to COVID-19 and this has lead them to look for alternate ways to finance some initiatives.
A crowd funding campaign through the Migration Heritage Fund has been launched to help bring A Mile in My Shoes to Sydney.
We would love individuals and organisations who are passionate about social harmony to join us and bring this wonderful installation to Sydney,” said Sumption.