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Migration exhibition opens at National Museum

THURSDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2007

Migration Memories, an exhibition providing a snapshot of Australian migration history is now on display at the National Museum of Australia. Exhibition components from two locations; Lightning Ridge, NSW and Robinvale, VIC, are displayed together for the first time.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Mary Hutchison, Research Associate at the Australian National University. Mary worked with the residents of Lightning Ridge and Robinvale to develop two separate components of Migration Memories which have been shown separately in each location but will be brought together for the first time at the National Museum.

Seven storytellers from each location share their personal experience of migration. The stories include significant migrations to both towns from European settlement to the present as well as Indigenous experiences of the changes brought by newcomers.

Each storyteller selected a personal item that had a particular meaning for their migration story. When Lovelyn Miglietta migrated to Lightning Ridge from the Philippines in 1994 her uncle advised 'take only your handbag, don't look back, whatever you have in the cupboard — forget it'. Lovelyn's handbag, containing her ticket to Australia, passport, two twenty dollar bills and a list of phone numbers, illustrates her story of leaving her old life behind to start a new life in Australia.

Tory Pisasale's experience stems from the story of his father's migration from Sicily to Robinvale in 1925. As a second generation migrant, Tory reconnected with his family's country of origin through his father's love of Italian opera and the great opera house, La Scala. Tory's story is supported by an audio recording of an aria from Tosca.

The National Museum presents Migration Memories in partnership with the Australian National University. The exhibition is part of the research for an Australian Research Council Linkage Project based at the University's Research School of the Humanities. The research focuses on how individuals remember personally significant migration experiences and the material culture that embodies these memories.

Migration Memories is on show in the Nation Focus Gallery at the National Museum until November 28, 2007. Entry is free.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au