Konieczność a przymus. Zagadnienia migracyjne w założeniach ekspozycji stałej Muzeum Emigracji w Gdyni
Between Necessity and Coercion. Migration Issues in the Preparation of the Permanent Exhibition at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia
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Emigration Museum in Gdynia is a local cultural institution of the City of Gdynia, founded in 2012, after several years of preparation. Its creation was due to the need to preserve the memory of the emigration movement from the Polish territory and the desire to honour the achievements of the Polish community from different corners of the Earth. Gdynia, which knew a dynamic growth in the years between the two World Wars, had a huge percentage of immigrant population. These migrants from across the Republic were building the harbour and the city, and contributed to its identity. The investment in the harbour and opening the country to the world by sea route meant that Gdynia became one of key points on the Polish map of emigration. Waves of emigrants reached the city, benefited from its specialized infrastructure and left the country, often keeping Gdynia especially in mind. Since 1933, ship passenger clearances, including immigrants, were held in a representative building of the Maritime Station, which ceased to serve its primary functions a quarter of a century ago. This monument, after the ongoing redevelopment and adaptation, will be the main site of the Museum. Its opening to the public will synchronize with the launch of the permanent exhibition. At the floor space of almost 2500 m2, the multithreading migration processes will be shown in a modern and effective way. It is a living and current topic that requires further explanation. An administrative coercion or “just” political pressure? No influence on the decisions on their own fate or a choice of the lesser evil? The desire to survive vs. the desire to develop? Emigration is often associated stereotypically with an escape, not taking into account the multitude of factors affecting it. The exhibition will try to explain them revealing sociological dimension of migration and its broad historical context. Above all, it will show people and their departure seen through their eyes. The museum itself, however, is something more than just an exhibition. It is a centre of culture, education and science, intertwining the threads of emigration stories and creating new bonds of relationship with the country of the ancestors.
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