No one wants to be a refugee. Anyone can become one. Come see Refuge Canada, the powerful exhibition that everyone is talking about at Halifax’s Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and walk the path a refugee might take as they attempt to seek asylum in Canada.
Read on to discover 6 things you should see at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21’s Refuge Canada exhibit before November 11, 2018.
1 – An Escape by Sea
Sit in an inflatable boat just like the ones used by refugees fleeing from Turkey to Greece. Visitors are encouraged to climb into this boat and imagine the risk many refugees take to find safety for themselves and their families.
2 – A Life in Limbo
Enter a UNHCR Refugee Tent used in refugee camps today. When we think of refugee camps, many think of temporary shelter for displaced populations. However, the reality is that on average refugees are living in limbo for 18 years.
Step inside this tent and contemplate what it would be like to call these canvas walls home for yourself and 10 of your family members.
3 – A Hidden Message
See a wooden desk set with a secret message under the ink blotter. One of the most compelling objects in Refuge Canada the message, written in German, is a plea for help to a Canadian Official from a Black Sea German couple who were desperate to come to Canada.
We believe they were trying to avoid being sent to a gulag, a Soviet work camp, following the Second World War. Read the message for yourself and consider the ingenuity many refugees muster in their quest for safety.
4 – A Treasured Toy
This little plastic doll from the 1970s embodies the life-changing impact of a warm welcome, and is our Curator’s favourite artifact. The doll was given to Nhung-Tran Davies when she arrived in Canada as a refugee by the family who sponsored her. The gesture meant so much, that the doll became a cherished possession.
Now a physician in Western Canada, she made sure to give a doll to the young daughter of a Syrian refugee family she sponsored, echoing the kindness she first received.
5 – A Richer Canada
Discover the contributions refugees make to Canada. Refuge Canada concludes with stories about the positive impact of former refugees including Michaëlle Jean, K’naan, Carmen Aguirre, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, Gareth Henry and Canada’s first Nobel Prize winner Gergard Herzbert who was recognized in 1971 for his work on the structure of molecules.
6 – A Place to Leave Your Mark
Two sections leave it up to the visitor to curate. Take a moment to add your thoughts about what it means to be a refugee, the impact of refugees in your community and read what others have said before you.
Take note: This exhibition is only in Halifax until November 11, before it begins its national tour with stops across the country. Now is your chance to reflect on Canada’s mixed record in welcoming refugees, the bravery of their journey and the contributions refugees have made to Canada. Refuge Canada explores the global refugee crisis and Canada’s place within it.
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