On 20th June 2019, a group of 15 ESOL students from a variety of ESOL classes and 5 members of staff visited the Migration Museum on Lambeth High Street as part of Refugee Week. Everyone met at the Baytree Centre and after a quick head count, set off for the museum at 12.30pm.
On the bus, students chatted enthusiastically with each other and their tutors and so the journey passed quickly and pleasantly. Arriving at our destination, we made sure the students knew where the bus stop was if they needed to leave early.
At the Migration Museum we were welcomed by a member of staff and given a brief overview of the exhibition and a simple floor map. We were told it was a truly interactive experience and the students loved exploring all the different rooms and listening to the different stories from the migrants who had settled in the UK. The exhibition was set out as a series of rooms: a bedsit, a kitchen, a barber shop and a schoolroom, each filled with personal artefacts that visitors to the museum could pick up and examine. In addition, there were opportunities to listen to personal narratives that truly brought to life the struggles of the migrants.
As well as learning more about migrant groups that had made the UK their home, our students were encouraged to think about their own journeys to the UK and many shared their stories with each other and the tutors. The final room gave them the opportunity to think about who had helped them when they first moved to the UK and to offer thanks to these people by writing their names in little boxes which were then incorporated into an exhibit called The Colours of Kindness.
We finished our visit with some light refreshments in the café and enjoyed an art exhibition which featured people who had arrived in The UK on The Windrush. We helped our students to complete feedback forms on their experience of visiting the museum and it was clear from their comments that it had been an overwhelmingly positive experience for everyone.