The Migration Museum explores how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has made us who we are – as individuals and as a nation.

UPDATE ON 3 JULY 2020:  The Migration Museum aims to reopen in autumn 2020 with the launch of our new exhibition, Departures, exploring 400 years of emigration from Britain.

We sincerely look forward to welcoming each and every one of you back to the Migration Museum as soon as we can. In the meantime, we are creating our first major digital exhibition, Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS, exploring the personal stories and experiences of people who have come to Britain to work for the health service over the past 72 years. We are also developing a programme of community activities. We will be announcing more details on both of these soon and will provide further updates on reopening as soon as we can.

Read our full statement on reopening

Explore our online resources

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Iain Watson

Iain has been Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) since March 2010 and a member of TWAM’s Senior Management Team since 2001, following a previous 18 years’ experience in the cultural and heritage sector. Iain is a Board member of the Museums Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the… Read more

Meet our distinguished friends
  • Room to Breathe

    An immersive exhibition inviting you to discover stories from generations of new arrivals to Britain. Journey through a series of rooms in which the struggles, joys, creativity and resilience of living in a new land are brought to life through audio, films, photographs and personal objects. Read more

  • Wall

    A work by STIK and Thierry Noir, drawn directly onto two pieces of the Berlin Wall, sending a powerful message about how we as individuals can maintain connections across borders, walls and barriers. Read more

  • Departures

    Opening later in 2020, Departures is a new exhibition exploring 400 years of emigration from Britain through personal narratives, contemporary art and a range of media. Read more

  • No Turning Back: Seven Migration Moments that Changed Britain

    An exhibition from the Migration Museum exploring seven migration moments throughout history that changed Britain through art, photography, graphics, quotes and stories. Read more

  • 100 Images of Migration

    A collection of diverse images by professional and amateur photographers that together tell a compelling story about what migration means to people across the UK. Read more

  • Keepsakes

    Working with communities and individuals, we are exploring the nature and importance of personal keepsakes in telling migration stories. Read more

  • Porcelain roses

    The past few months have been an occasion for raking over the past and sifting through memories. Elzbieta Piekacz – a photographer who has documented many of our exhibitions and events – has been going over her past, recalling a moment when she travelled back to Lviv, the city that her grandparents lived in, to piece together memories, armed only with some photographs left to her by her grandmother. Read more

  • The weaving together of photographs

    In this second guest lockdown blog, Tim Smith, a photographer who has written two previous blogs for us and has been ‘with’ us since the start of the Migration Museum Project, sifts through old photos he and his father took of the Caribbean and asks how photographic memories control the narratives we spin of our… Read more

  • Phoenix City: the resilience of London

    In this period of enforced inactivity, when almost all Migration Museum staff are in furlough, we are running a small number of blogs written by friends of the Museum on subjects related to the current pandemic. The first one, written by Cathy Ross, long-term friend (and distinguished friend) of the Museum, focuses on the capacity… Read more

  • The Migration Museum’s 2020 lecture, delivered by Baroness Warsi

    Baroness Sayeeda Warsi delivered our 2020 lecture at King’s College London, chaired by her friend and fellow peer Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, exploring the rise of Islamophobia and the challenges of navigating complex currents of religion, identity and allegiance as a British Muslim and a high-profile politician. Read more

  • The Belle Vue Studio, Bradford

    A unique archive of photographs which records the changing face of a British industrial city through the 20th century is now being brought to a national audience in a BBC documentary, as Tim Smith, long-term friend and supporter of the Migration Museum, recounts. When the Belle Vue Studio opened in 1926 on Manningham Lane in… Read more

  • “For Sama” – a film you should see (unless you’re an MP, maybe)

    We were told that the absence of a large screen was due to the Extinction Rebellion protests in Westminster Square. The reason for the absence of anything but a small handful of MPs was not given, so we could only speculate: XR as well? Brexit-induced agoraphobia? indifference to the plight of Syria and its citizens?… Read more

  • Hold the Line – retracing a 90-year-old journey

    The route from south-east Europe to north-west Europe is one taken by thousands of people seeking asylum and refuge from war and persecution. Newspapers constantly present this as a contemporary challenge, but, as this blog illustrates, this is a well-trodden path – for the artist Freya Gabie this route is the basis of a project… Read more

  • “The whole world is here . . . ”

    The New Londoners, an exhibition featuring portraits of families from all over the world who call London home, is on display in the Breathing Space café section of the Migration Museum until 27 May. This blog profiles the exhibition, which features the photographs of Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins, a long-term supporter of the Migration Museum.… Read more

  • On knowledge, football and forgiveness

    This is a short posting about football, but really it’s mostly about forgiveness. At a time when divisions run deep and animosity is in the air, when Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper is apparently ‘desperate’ to learn about the Second World War if only to understand why the Nazi salute he was photographed making might have been… Read more

  • Shorsh Saleh – weaving identities

    In April we welcome a new artist in residence to Room to Breathe: the multimedia artist Shorsh Saleh. Shorsh’s display in the art studio inside the exhibition reveals a range of delightful artistic practices, from miniature paintings, installations to carpet weaving. His body of work reflects his layered and complex identity both as an individual… Read more

  • Textiles and lullabies – Ceyda Oskay’s residency in the art studio

    Ceyda Oskay is the new artist in residence in our current exhibition, Room to Breathe. As with previous artists, we asked Ceyda and the curator in residence of the art studio, Dima Karout, a series of questions and answers to find out more about Ceyda’s artistic practice. Ceyda uses textiles to explore symbolic themes around… Read more

  • Art therapy with asylum seekers and refugees: the New Art Studio

    We are approaching the end of our third monthly residency in our current exhibition, Room to Breathe: the New Art Studio, an art therapy practice supporting asylum seekers and refugees in London, will be leaving the gallery on 24 February, and Ceyda Oskay will be moving into the space the following week. In the course… Read more

  • Karl Marx’s London

    Much is made of Britain’s reputation for providing refuge for people seeking political asylum but many consider such self-congratulation undeserved, pointing instead to Britain’s relative resistance to taking in Jewish refugees before and during the Second World War, to the small number of Vietnamese boatpeople taken in in the 1970s (in comparison with those taken… Read more

  • What have EU nationals ever done for the UK’s heritage sector?

    In this guest blog Olivia Bridge considers the contribution EU nationals have made to the museum sector, and what impact the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may have on the culture and heritage industries. Artists and, more generally, people working in the culture and heritage industry have always been conspicuous for their mobility, travelling across… Read more

  • The art studio as a ‘room to breathe’

    Room to Breathe at the Migration Museum takes visitors on an immersive journey through a series of interconnected rooms, revealing the multi-layered experience of migrants and refugees arriving in a new country. Intimate personal stories are brought to life through audio recordings of oral histories as visitors go through the different rooms. At the centre… Read more

  • Migration, population ageing, and labour force participation

    When people express anxieties about immigration, they tend to do so in terms of its economic, social or cultural effect on the country – and occasionally all three. Of these, the social effect of immigration continues to be the most divisive, with strident voices expressing bitterly opposing views. As far as the other two are… Read more

  • Island to Island

    This is a guest blog by photographer Tim Smith, a long-standing friend of the Migration Museum Project and contributor to our 100 Images of Migration exhibition. He describes the background to Island to Island – Journeys Through the Caribbean, a new exhibition at Leeds Central Library which runs from 27 June until 27 July 2018.  A… Read more

  • Moving Stories – a competition that has moved us all

    A guest blog by Asher Goodenough, Subject Advisor for History at OCR, on the Moving Stories competition, which the Migration Museum Project ran in partnership with OCR. Read more

  • Migration Network 2020/1

    The Migration Network is a knowledge-sharing network bringing together organisations from across the UK heritage sector and beyond, featuring a series of regional knowledge-sharing events from Autumn 2020 onwards. Read more

  • Heart of the Nation – digital exhibition and Spotify partnership

    We’ve partnered with Spotify to create a playlist celebrating 72 years of the NHS to mark the announcement of our first major digital exhibition, Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS. Read more

  • Our reopening plans

    The Migration Museum aims to reopen in autumn 2020 with the launch of our new exhibition, Departures, exploring 400 years of emigration from Britain. Read more

  • Windrush Day 2020: EVEWRIGHT takeover and #Windrushtome

    For Windrush Day 2020, artist EVEWRIGHT took over our Instagram to share details of his new project, Tilbury Walkway of Memories, and throughout the day we shared personal perspectives on what Windrush means to people across our social channels, using the hashtag #Windrushtome. Read more

  • In solidarity – statement and resources

    The Migration Museum stands in solidarity with black communities – in the US, the UK and worldwide. But we must do more than just speak out. Structural racism manifests itself differently in different countries and contexts. Awareness, education and action is vital. We’re sharing some resources that we hope might be useful, informative and inspiring as a starting point. And we’d love to hear your suggestions – get in touch. Read more

  • Explore our online resources

    The Migration Museum is currently closed to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but we have lots of online content for you to explore from the safety and comfort of your own home during this lockdown period. Read more

  • Migration Museum launching in Lewisham

    The Migration Museum is opening its doors to the public at our new venue in Lewisham on Friday 14 February at 11am. To mark our launch, we’re sharing a selection of personal stories. Read more

  • The Migration Museum’s 2020 lecture, delivered by Baroness Warsi

    Baroness Sayeeda Warsi delivered our 2020 lecture at King’s College London, chaired by her friend and fellow peer Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, exploring the rise of Islamophobia and the challenges of navigating complex currents of religion, identity and allegiance as a British Muslim and a high-profile politician. Read more

  • Migration Museum embarks on collaborative residency with King’s College London’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute

    The Migration Museum is embarking on a six-month collaborative residency with Kings College London’s (KCL) Arts and Humanities Research Institute (AHRI). Read more

  • The Migration Museum in Lewisham in 2020

    The Migration Museum in Lewisham is now open. We’ll be staging an exciting series of exhibitions, events and activities in 2020 from a large new venue in the heart of Lewisham Shopping Centre. Read more

  • Migration Museum at The Workshop – highlights of a fantastic two and a half years

    After a fantastic two and a half years, our Migration Museum at The Workshop is now closed to the public. As we gear up for a move to an exciting new venue in 2020 – more details coming soon – we wanted to look back at some of the highlights of our time on Lambeth… Read more

  • Family History Day: uncovering our past, illuminating our present

    This autumn, we partnered with The National Archives, the London Metropolitan Archives and the National Trust to bring our visitors a Family History Day with a difference. Read more

  • Migration Museum presents: Borderless Cup Lambeth

    This summer, we joined forces with the Black Prince Trust (BPT), Vauxhall One and Kick It Out to present the first Borderless Cup Lambeth, an inclusive football and basketball tournament for Lambeth residents and community organisations. Read more

  • Residency programme for migrant artists

    Our initial staging of our Room to Breathe exhibition at the Migration Museum at The Workshop in Lambeth in 2018/19 served as a setting for a series of residencies by migrant artists. Read a selection of interviews with and blog posts about each of the artists, find information on the workshops each artist ran, as well as information on the final group exhibition in summer 2019. Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah – podcast

    Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah is a new podcast series from the Migration Museum, in association with Allianz Global Investors, featuring conversations with some of Britain’s most successful business leaders – all of whom have immigrant backgrounds. Read more

  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visits Migration Museum and pledges support

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, pledged his support for a permanent national Migration Museum in London during a visit to our current venue in Lambeth on June 4. Read more

  • Migration Museum and OCR announce return of Moving Stories competition

    We have teamed up with exam board OCR to re-launch Moving Stories, a national competition for History GCSE students who are studying OCR’s module on ‘Migration to Britain’ in 2019/20. Read more

  • Migration and Museums – a review for the Migration Network 2020/21

    The Migration Museum commissioned a review to provide an overview of migration-related work being undertaken by museums and heritage sites nationally, to explore some of the motivations for the museum sector to address migration and the challenges faced in doing so, and to provide an initial basis and context for participants in the Migration Network 2020/21 to explore further. Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business – Karen Blackett in conversation with David Abraham

    Episode 3 of Migrants Mean Business features Karen Blackett, UK Country Manager for WPP and Chairwoman of MediaCom, in conversation with David Abraham Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah – Sir Lloyd Dorfman

    Episode 2 of Migrants Mean Business features a conversation between George Alagiah and entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE. Lloyd founded Travelex at the age of 24 from one small shop in London and grew it to become the world’s largest foreign exchange specialist. Lloyd and George’s wide-ranging conversation explores Lloyd’s business and philanthropic career, his family roots and Jewish identity, the essence of entrepreneurialism and whether one ever stops being a ‘migrant’. Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah – Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

    To kick off our Migrants Mean Business series, we’ve got a cracking conversation with one of the most charismatic and recognisable business leaders of the past few decades – Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. His conversation with Daniel Franklin, executive and diplomatic editor of The Economist, ranges from shipping to dog walking, suing Netflix to going head to head with Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary. Read more

  • The ‘Other’ Side of the Pond: The Good Immigrant USA

    To mark the launch of The Good Immigrant USA, its editor Chimene Suleyman and contributors to the best-selling UK edition Inua Ellams and Darren Chetty joined us at the Migration Museum in March 2019 to read from the new collection of essays and compare the current state of discussions and debates around identity, culture, language and belonging on both sides of the Atlantic.  Read more

  • Exploring how migration changes the places where we live

    Migration has a major impact on local communities. In a series of videos produced as part of Migration Making Places, Making People: New Narratives of Inclusion, a partnership project between COMPAS, The Open University, the Migration Museum Project and Counterpoints Arts, key policymakers, researchers and practitioners discuss issues ranging from solidarity to challenges migrants face and… Read more

  • David Olusoga delivers the Migration Museum Annual Lecture 2018: ‘The Perils of Our Insular Illusion’

    Historian, producer, presenter and Migration Museum trustee David Olusoga delivered our 2018 Annual Lecture at SOAS on 22 November 2018, arguing that, to make sense of contemporary Britain, we need to recover the global aspects of our history and culture. Read more

  • Audio stories from Room to Breathe

    A selection of audio food stories from our Room to Breathe exhibition. Read more

  • Migration Museum Project’s 2017 Annual Lecture with Gary Younge

    Journalist and author Gary Younge looks at how immigration is understood in the current age and what the consequences are in terms of migration, social anxiety and democracy. Read more