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History in Focus

the guide to historical resources • Issue 11: Migration •


Immigrants awaiting trains in New York City

Newly-arrived immigrants wait for trains to take them from the Immigration Station, New York City.

From Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 (Open Collections Program, Harvard University Library), digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University's library, museum, and archive collections that explore immigration to the United States between 1789 and 1930.

More resources

Archives, libraries & museums

This page presents some of the archival and library resources available on the study of migration along with some museums that hold collections in the area. The listings below cover UK collections and a few key international collections.

UK collections

The Museum of London Group

The Museum of London group comprises the Museum of London, the Museum in Docklands, the Museum of London Archaeology Service and the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre. The Museums of London and Docklands both hold collections on immigrants to London and the impacts they have had on the city. The Museum of London is holding an exhibition entitled 'Belonging: Voices of London's Refugees' until 25 February 2007. which will look at the contribution which refugees have made to London. An exhibition at the Museum in Docklands, 'Journey to the New World', until 13 May 2007, looks at the facts and fables behind the first European voyages to America.

Address: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Tel: 0870 444 3852
email: info@museumoflondon.org.uk
Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh

The Centre for Migration Studies supports the study of Irish migration worldwide from 1600 to the present day. It houses a specialist research library and holds regular conferences and events on irish migration. The Centre also runs the Irish Emigration Database Project. An MA course on Irish Migration Studies is taught at the Centre.

Address: The Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park, 2 Mellon Rd, Castletown, Omagh, Co Tyrone, N.Ireland, BT78 5QY
Tel: 028 8225 6315
Fax: 028 8224 2241
email: CentreMigStudies@ni-libraries.net
The Jewish Museum, London

The Finchley branch of the Jewish Museum in London houses a permanent exhibition in its Holocaust Education Gallery. It has been designed to tie in with the National Curriculum for schools, though it is also accessible to the public. In addition to this the Jewish Museum also offers temporary exhibitions and talks on subjects such as the resistance movement and rescue of Jews during the Second World War, children's art from the concentration camps, and the Kindertransport.

Address: The Jewish Museum, 80 East End Road, Finchley, London N3 2SY
Tel: 020 8349 1143
Fax: 020 8343 2162
The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Bristol

The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, which opened in 2002, aims to present the 500-year history and legacy of Britain's overseas empire. The main galleries include material on include material on 'Who left Britain to live or work abroad' and 'The Commonwealth comes to Britain', so migration can be explored from two different perspectives. The museum has many interactive exhibits as well as extensive collections of primary source materials.

Address: The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum, Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads, Bristol BS1 6QH
Tel: 0117 925 4980
Fax: 0117 925 4983
email: admin@empiremuseum.co.uk

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International collections

Immigration Museum, Melbourne

The Immigration Museum explores stories of people from all over the world who have migrated to Victoria from the 1800s through to the present day through moving images, computer interactives, voices, memories and belongings. The Sarah and Baillieu Myer Immigration Discovery Centre contains a range of information about family history research, shipping indices, immigration and cross-cultural references.

Address: Old Customs House, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Tel: +613 9927 2700
The Migration Museum, Adelaide

The Migration Museum has exhibitions and special programs that tell the story of the immigrants to South Australia. Opened in 1986 in an old asylum, the museum holds photographs and cultural artefacts like costumes, rosaries and letters. The museum has also contributed to the Collections Australia Network, an online database of Autralian historical resources and artefacts

Address: 82 Kintore Avenue, Adelaide, SA 5000
Tel: 61-08 8207 7580
Fax: 61-08 8207 7591
email: migration@history.sa.gov.au
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, USA

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is situated in the New York Harbor, and is a symbol of America's immigrant heritage. From 1892 to 1954, this depot processed nearly twelve million immigrants. The museum houses three floors of exhibits and audio-visual displays telling the story of those who took the long journey across the Atlantic.

Address: ARAMARK, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York, NY 10004
email: moreinfo@ellisisland.com
Immigration history research center

The Immigration History Research Center (IHRC), based at the University of Minnesota, collects and preserves material on American immigration and ethnic history. The IHRC collections are particularly strong on immigrants coming to the United States from eastern, central and southern Europe and the Near East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Details of the research collections are available from the website. This information is browsable by country of origin. As well as browsing for details of the collections it is possible to carry out searches using the University of Minnesota Library catalogue. The IHRC website also outlines the aims of the organisation. There are details of events and projects taking place, contact and location information and details of publications. The site provides links to other US immigration websites.

Address: Elmer L. Andersen Library, Suite 311, 222-21st Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55455
Tel: 612-625-4800
Fax: 612-626-0018
National archives of Australia

The National Archives of Australia hold papers of Governors-General, Prime Ministers and Ministers. They also have Cabinet documents, Royal Commission files and departmental records on defence, immigration, naturalisation and security and intelligence. Other documents relating to the federal government are also held. The majority of the documents date from after the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 although they do hold some nineteenth century documents. The majority of the holdings are text documents but also have holdings of photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, films, playscripts, musical scores and sound recordings. The National Archives of Australia website holds information about the archives, about how to contact the service and about their publications. Details of exhibition and events being held at the National Archives are also given. It is possible to search the collection catalogues online through RecordSearch. RecordSearch contains descriptions of 80,000 collections and over 2,500,000 record items as well as details of about 9,000 creators and depositors. Registered users of the system can save their searches for up to six months. There is an online tutorial and a PDF guide on the site on how to use RecordSearch.

Address: PO Box 7425, CANBERRA BUSINESS CENTRE ACT 2610, AUSTRALIA (see website for various addresses).
Contact: Ask a question about the records.
National archives of Canada

The website of the National Archives of Canada holds both general and detailed information on their holdings. The collections include Government records, private collections, documentary art, photographs, stamps, maps and architectural holdings. Details of location, opening hours and how to plan a trip to the archive are provided on the site. All information on the site is in both English and French. There is a valuable amount of information intended to help teachers from primary school level upwards on subjects such as how a children's book is made.It is possible to obtain more detailed holdings information from the website using their online database ArchiviaNet. ArchiviaNet is a collection of searchable databases covering Government records, soldiers of the First World War, the index of the 1871 census, post offices, home children, dominion landgrants, immigration records (1925-1935), colonial archives, films, videos, sound recordings, photographs, works of art and caricatures. ArchiviaNet does not hold details of all the holdings of the National Archives, but does contain several million records. Online help is available to aid searching. Other features of the website include online exhibitions and publications, and a news and events section.

Address: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4, CANADA
Tel: 613-996-5115
Fax: 613-995-6274
(Record courtesy of intute.)
National archives of New Zealand

This website provides information about the work of the National Archives of New Zealand and the facilities that it offers to the public. There is a brief history of the origins of the National Archives of New Zealand, together with the text and interpretation of the 1957 Archives Act. The website also has information on the holdings and on how to use the archive offices. There is a section specifically relating to the use of the archives for genealogical research. This section also outline some of the other sources available for genealogical study. A limited number of online primary sources are available on the site. These include the Treaty of Waitangi and the 1893 Woman's Suffrage Petition. The site also has a list of links to New Zealand and overseas archives, to related organisations, legislation sites, electronic records sites, record management sites and to sites about archival standards. Other features of the site include a 'What's New' section including an archive of new listings and details of publications and outreach activities. It is possible to search the site.

Address: 10 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand
Tel: (64-4) 499 5595
Fax: (64-4) 495 6210

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