September 21, 2018 – January 3, 2021
Migration Moves the City – Changing Perspectives

Migration is normal in a growing city and as much a part of Munich as is Marienplatz. Brickmakers from Italy’s Friuli region, who produced the construction materials for many typical Munich buildings, “displaced persons” who helped just as much with re-building the city after World War II as other groups, and “guest workers,” who made key contributions to industrial production and urban development have all left their marks on Munich’s culture and daily life. These people, their stories, and their memories are integral to “Typically Munich!”. This can clearly be seen in areas like the Westend, originally a working-class district and now a trendy neighborhood with one of Munich’s highest percentages of foreigners, andin the city’s lively religious diversity.

Munich was and is a city of immigrants. This is the perspective that the Münchner Stadtmuseum and the Munich City Archives have, since 2015, taken in researching the city’s past and present, starting with the end of World War II. Not only has the “Migration Moves the City” project successfully documented new perspectives on history, and forged close contacts with leading players in migration, it has also expanded the collections of both commemorative institutions adding innumerable important sources and significant objects.

The results of these endeavors now occupy a prominent place in the Münchner Stadtmuseum. In the “Typically Munich !” permanent exhibition, new exhibits now fill gaps in the city's history here and there providing clear evidence of the ways in which migration has left, and still leaves, its mark on Munich. The chronology of the permanent exhibition has been breached and now faces a questioning commentary on how it has been presented up until now. What changes must we make to our perspective to truly tell the story of an immigrant society? Which objects best serve our purpose? How can the history of migration become a shared narrative of the society of this city?

Single-use blanket from the special shelter against particular cold temperatures at Bayernkaserne (former military facility) in Munich, textile © Münchner Stadtmuseum
Dimitri Soulas, arriving at Münchner Hauptbahnhof 1968, photo © Münchner Stadtmuseum
Tacettin Ulas, Christmas tree in Istanbul, made from soda bottles, digital photo © Manzara Istanbul
Rudi Dix, Italian guest workers housed in barracks 1963, photo © Stadtarchiv München

A total of 15 exhibition stations feature objects that represent the past and the present of migration in Munich and invite visitors to adopt a new perspective. In addition, each of these stops has a tablet so that visitors can interact with additional objects and digital content related to that particular station. The exhibition texts and the additional interactive material have been translated into English and Modern Standard Arabic with a view to reaching the widest possible audience. Visitors can also use two participative modules to help put together their own collections on Munich's history of migration and join the debate on how the city should now start to view itself.

Further, Munich scenographer Juliette Israel’s design of this special exhibition uses the additional exhibits and modules to underline the new direction that Münchner Stadtmuseum has now taken. Its installations clearly show that the process that the “Migration Moves the City” project first set in motion almost four years ago is far from complete. Further installations may indeed still be added, and locations and cross-references within the permanent exhibition remain flexible.

Finally, the special exhibition also shinesa spotlight on the perspectives of new immigrants to the city. In what different ways do new residents in Munich experience their arrival and settling-in period? Which locations are important to them, and what are their expectations or demands of the city? The actual perspective of the players in the migration narrative themselves plays a central role in the accompanying program. Residents with an immigrant background will jointly lead tours of the exhibition with curators and will talk about their own personal experiences and points of view. Beginning in 2019, these very people will lead tours in their own native languages, with the program being presented in seven languages for the first time, namely Arabic, Bosnian, Croatian, German, Greek, Italian, and Turkish.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book of 252 pages, with more than 200 illustrations; it is the first volume published by Ursula Eymold and Andreas Heusler in the Allitera house "Münchner Beiträge zur Migrationsforschung” series. In addition to extensive documentation of the special exhibition, the publication provides remarkable insights into the working methods and results of the four-year project entitled “Migration Moves the City.” Articles by the academic and technical advisors who have been a part of the project since its inception illustrate how it is anchored both in research and in civil society. The articles are authored by: Ursula Eymold, Isabella Fehle , Simon Goeke, Andreas Heusler, Hannah Maischein, Vivienne Marquart, Johannes Moser, Karolina Novinscak-Kölker, Grazia Prontera und Philip Zölls.

Project management: Ursula Eymold and Dr. Andreas Heusler


The exhibition is accompanied by a book of 252 pages, with more than 200 illustrations; it is the first volume published by Ursula Eymold and Andreas Heusler in the Allitera house "Münchner Beiträge zur Migrationsforschung” series. It is available for € 29.00 at the museum’s ticket desk and its online shop.