Discover history on the move at the Migration Museums of Europe

In 2019, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum became a member of The Migration Museums Network – a global group of like-minded museums which believe that “museums and societies must learn from past and present migration to remove boundaires between communities, embrace history and promote dialogue to combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination”.

Here in the European Union we are part of a vibrant community of museums dedicated to exploring our shared histories of immigration, emigration, diversity, and change. This month, as we celebrate 50 years of Ireland in the EU, let’s introduce you to some of our favourite migration museums in Europe who join us in the Migration Museums Network.

Poland: Muzeum Emigracji w Gdyni / The Emigration Museum, Gdynia

The Emigration Museum at Gdynia port in Northern Poland is housed within the historic Passenger Sea Terminal. The museum’s location echoes the stories told within, as thousands of people left Poland from the Sea Terminal before the outbreak of the World War II. There are over 20 million people of Polish descent throughout the world today and The Emigration Museum in Gdynia is dedicated to telling their stories.

France: Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration / National Museum of the History of Immigration, Paris

The National Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris reflects on the role of immigration in France both past and present. This museum safeguards France’s history of immigration and explores diverse themes from legislation, economics and everyday life to racism, discrimination and colonisation. The museum is housed within the Palais de la Porte Dorée which was once the “museum of the colonies”. The National Museum of the History of Immigration recently collaborated with EPIC on a temporary exhibition called ‘Borders: Studying Margins to Question the World’, which is on display in Dublin until early June, 2023. Closed for over a year due to renovations, the permanent collection galleries of the National Museum of the History of Immigration will reopen on June 17, 2023.

Italy: MEI Museo Nazionale Emigrazione Italiana / National Museum of Italian Emigration, Genoa

Opened in May 2022, MEI The National Museum of Italian Emigration in Genoa tells the stories of millions of Italians who left for Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas from the time of the Unification of Italy (and even before) to the present. Although MEI is one of Europe’s newest museums, it is housed in the 12th century Romanesque building of Commenda di San Giovanni de Pré, a friary which once provided hospitality to pilgrims.

Germany: Deutsches Auswandererhaus / The German Emigration Centre, Bremerhaven

The German Emigration Centre invites visitors on a journey through time that will change their view of the world. Bremerhaven is a historical port city of emigration from which over 7.2 million people made life-changing deicisions to leave Germany throughout modern history. Many of them pursued dreams of a better life in the United States. Today Bremerhaven is home to citizens from over 160 nations and this interactive museum tells the stories of migration both past and present.

Ireland: EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is located in the former industrial heartland of Dublin, the Docklands, a point of departure and arrival for both people and cargo throughout the centuries. EPIC uses state of the art digital curation to tell the story of more than 1,500 years of Irish emigration. The museum sheds lights on the motivations, challenges, and achievements of Irish emigrants and Irish diaspora around the world. Almost 70 million people around the world claim to be of Irish descent and this museum helps visitors to understand how and why.

Learn more about the Migration Museums of Europe by visiting their websites:

The Migration Museums Network, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
The Emigration Museum, Gydnia, Poland
Nation Museum of the History of Immigration, Paris, France
National Museum of Italian Emigration, Genoa, Italy
Deutsches Auswandererhaus, Bremerhaven, Germany
EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin, Ireland


Cover Image: German Emigration Centre Bremerhaven, (c) Werner Huthmacher Source

Amano Miura, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum