Seeking Refuge

Seeking Refuge – Stories Told in 25 Objects

Special exhibition at the Haus der Geschichte
2 March 2024 – 2 February 2025

What do a baby doll, a wooden box, opera glasses and a child’s drawing have in common? At first glance, nothing. But a closer look reveals that they all tell stories of war, flight, and displacement. Each of these objects was either taken along by someone seeking safety in a dangerous situation or had to be left behind – a circumstance that lends them a special significance.

The doll travelled with a 15-year-old girl from Czechoslovakia to Vienna in 1968. The girl had fled with her parents after the suppression of the Prague Spring. The wooden box was crafted in Gmünd in 1916 by refugees from Ukraine as a gesture of gratitude. The opera glasses accompanied their owner to Argentina when she and her family were forced to leave Austria after the Anschluss in 1938. The drawing was made by a child at the Wirtschaftshof refugee centre in St. Pölten in 2015.

Based on “Mobile Things, People, and Ideas: A Moving History of Lower Austria”, a research project led by the Institute for Jewish History in Austria (Injoest), the special exhibition “Seeking Refuge” brings the stories of displaced people to the museum through 25 objects. Things that bear witness to the circumstances of being taken or left behind are at the heart of the exhibition.

In particular, the presentation focuses on objects that preserve not only memories but also identities, that signify belonging and illustrate internal conflicts. The show also looks at items that have been reconstructed with the memory of displacement in mind, or have been destroyed as a consequence of war. The focus is on the 20th and 21st centuries, although refugee movements from earlier periods are addressed as well.

The exhibition was curated by the Haus der Geschichte team at Museum Niederösterreich: Christian Rapp, Maren Sacherer, Andrea Thuile and Benedikt Vogl.

My Visit

0 Entries Entry

Suggested visit time:

Send List