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Exhibition, "Foreign Home", Essen, 1998

Founding History

From storage halls to archive shelves: How everything began.

General meeting during the founding period. DOMiD archive, Cologne

General meeting during the founding era. Foto: DOMiD-Archive, Köln
f.l.t.r. Sevtap Sezer, Aytaç Eryılmaz, Muhittin Demiray, Ahmet Sezer und Gönül Göhler

In 1990, our organization was founded and registered as a non-profit organization under the name "DOMiT—The Documentation Center and Museum of Migration from Turkey." It was founded by immigrants from Turkey, who were motivated by a glaring deficiency: neither historians nor museums nor archives were paying attention to the history of immigrants. In order to preserve the historical legacy of those immigrants, an archive was established. In 2000 the organization moved from Essen to Cologne. Today, our archive is a one-of-a-kind assemblage, which reflects the social, cultural and everyday history of immigration to Germany. At the same time, our founders strove for the creation of a central museum of migration in Germany – a goal we continue to pursue today.

In 2007, DOMiT united with the registered association "Museum of Migration in Germany" (Migrationsmuseum in Deutschland e.V.) another group, whose members advocated a central museum for migration history. This merger brought together migrants from diverse places of origin, as well as Germans with no personal migration background. With this change, we sought a new name to better reflect the organization's composition and the collection's content, which was expanded to include all immigrant communities in Germany. Because the name DOMiT was fairly well-recognized, the members decided to change the name only slightly, to DOMiD—"Dokumentationszentrum und Museum über die Migration in Deuschland." Thus we became the "Documentation Center and Museum of Migration in Germany."

Exhibition history

Through the exhibition "Foreign Home: A History of Immigration from Turkey" ("Fremde Heimat. Eine Geschichte der Einwanderung aus der Türkei"), DOMiD was able to reach a large audience for the first time. The groundbreaking display was shown in the Ruhrlandmuseum Essen (today called the Ruhr Museum) in 1998. Further exhibitions and internet projects on migration to Germany soon followed.

Between 2002 and 2006, DOMiD worked with several cooperative partners on "Project Migration," an endeavor supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The project culminated in a large socio-historical and artistic exhibition, which was shown in four different locations in Cologne in 2005 and 2006. Through "Project Migration," we were able to add materials to our collection that represent the migration movements from Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia, former Yugoslavia, South Korea, Vietnam, Mozambique and Angola.

Our last large exhibition was displayed in the German Historical Museum in Berlin, in the historical Cologne City Hall and in the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf in 2011. The German title "Geteilte Heimat" is a clever double entendre, which means both "divided home" and "shared home." The exhibition commemorated 50 years of migration from Turkey.

DOMiD is engaged in a number of projects. With several projects and publications, we commemorated the anniversaries of the labor recruitment agreements with Morocco and South Korea, as well as the anniversary of the "Ford Strike" in Cologne. Simultaneously, DOMiD developed its educational program, "DOMiD macht Schule." The goals of the program are to sensitize teachers and pupils to the topic of migration and to teach migration history and intercultural skills. Furthermore, in June 2014, DOMiD published a new documentation profile, which helps archivists more effectively represent the multi-facetted topic of migration.

Exposition "Foreign Home"

Exposition "Foreign Home– Yaban, Sılan olur", 1998, Essen. Picture: DOMiD-archieve, Cologne

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