Suitcase Stories – leaving home

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

What would you choose to take with you if you only had 24 hours to pack and leave your home forever?

Would you take photos and objects to remind you of your past life or something that would be useful when you reach your destination? How would you be feeling if you didn’t even know where you were going?

At a time when the topic of immigration is being widely debated, it’s worth reflecting on why men, women and children leave their homelands, often never to return.

For some it’s to seek a ‘better’ life with access to education and employment; for many others it is to escape war, famine and persecution.

We’re used to seeing and hearing about the numbers of people who are moving across countries and even continents, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that every person has their own individual story.

A pile of brown suitcases on top of each otherThe Learning team at Bristol Museums is working with local teachers to bring some of these hidden stories to life by creating Suitcase Stories. Each small suitcase represents the life of a man or woman who left their home and eventually came to live in Bristol.

School children will be able to open the cases in order to handle and investigate a range of real and replica objects, documents and photographs. These will help them to piece together the person’s life, the reasons for leaving their homeland and how they’ve contributed to Bristol.

Our Suitcase Stories will include a woman who came to Bristol via the Kindertransport from Germany as a young child in the 1930s; a family fleeing persecution in Uganda in the 1970s and more recent families escaping conflict in the Middle East.

As part of the project we are also going to film short interviews with each of our subjects so that they can share their experiences in their own words.

Find out more

Suitcase Stories will become part of the Learning team’s outreach programme to schools from September. Find out more and sign up to our teachers’ newsletter.

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