Museums of Migration: Galata Museo del Mare (Genova) and the Exhibition Memoria e Migrazioni

Not long ago I completed my Master’s thesis. It was a long, LONG process and very tiring! In spite of that, I was lucky enough to really like my topic -cultural policy and museology of migration- and my case studies, one of them being Memoria e Migrazioni at Galata Museo del Mare in Genova.

If you are in a city like Dublin, Genova, Bremerhaven, Amsterdam, New York, Antwerp and many more, you have the opportunity to check out some of the most beautiful examples of these type of institutions. Museums of migrations are usually very accessible, emotional and engaging museums, with immersive exhibitions and many stories to tell. Moreover, maybe you have noticed how museums have greatly transformed in the last twenty years, changing their role within society. Today, museums focus not only on conservation, but on providing a social service that can improve the citizens’ well-being.  Cultural institutions dedicated to the theme of migration are an example of this trend! In fact, they are all fairly new. The topic has become highly relevant in contemporary multi-ethnic societies, and it is widely discussed in the public sphere. For this reason, I advise you to give it a try and see a new perspective on migration and a new way to present them, which, maybe, you hadn’t thought about.

Memoria e Migrazioni – MeM is permanently held at the Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa (IT). Galata Museo del Mare is a maritime museum located in Genoa, Italy, within the restored building of the ancient dockyard: a structure built on the waterfront area of the historical harbor, right next to the historical center and coastal neighborhood of Pré. These areas are rich in maritime heritage dating back to the Middle Ages and the time when Genoa was an independent Maritime Republic. The Museum opened in 2004, when Genoa was appointed as the European Capital of Culture.
The exhibition I am referring to is focused on representing the history of Italian emigration via sea and the contemporary immigration to Italy. It was initially as a temporary exhibition, titled La ‘Merica, which was inaugurated in 2011. However, due to its success, the museum incorporated it permanently, creating space for an entire section and exhibition dedicated to the theme of migration. 

I love that museum. You and let yourself be completely absorbed in the life of Italian migrants, who were leaving their homes to travel to the Americas. You will be given a passport and the journey will begin. You walk through the maritime station, the boat, the customs, and your final destination, reading and listening to many stories.
The last part is dedicated to immigration: a thorough description and presentation of data, news, articles, topics and more stories will inform you about the social, cultural and political situation of current migratory movements.

If you are in Genova, give it a try!

There is only one problem with this exhibition: some contents are still only in Italian. If you really want to have a nice experience, contact the museum’s curatorial office and ask for a guided tour of the section, in English! In fact, you can also save and buy tickets only for that specific exhibition, and invest your money in a guide.


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