THE Melbourne Holocaust Museum (MHM) has embarked on a cross-communal outreach project with Melbourne’s Vietnamese community to help it establish a community museum.
The Vietnamese Museum Australia (VMA) will be Australia’s first museum dedicated to telling the story of Vietnamese refugee settlement in Australia. Planning for the museum began in 2018.
VMA planners recently visited the new MHM premises, after being introduced to the MHM by deputy state Liberal leader and Caulfield MP David Southwick.
MHM CEO Jayne Josem said meeting a delegation from the planned Vietnamese museum and sharing MHM’s expertise with them was a valued development. “Not only do we have similar challenges around the building of a museum, but there are many overlaps in terms of collecting and sharing stories of refugees fleeing hardships and trauma. While our histories are different, we could each relate to aspects of each other’s.
“It reminds us how interconnected we all are – and of the fact that museums are sites of storytelling and human connection. It was wonderful to share our learnings with them as they embark on their project.”
Andy Tran, VMA secretary, told The AJN the MHM visit was “a great opportunity to engage in shared experiences, and the parallels between the Jewish and Vietnamese histories was remarkable”.
“Shared values between the two communities, and the urgent need to record and preserve stories from living witnesses of the atrocities wrought upon them, was a priority among all present. The shared conviction to leave a legacy for future generations to honour their past will help cement the friendship between the Vietnamese Museum Australia and the Holocaust Museum.”
Southwick told The AJN, “These visits can help build friendships with other multicultural groups by sharing ideas, expertise and working together on cross-community projects.
“Reflecting our community spirit, the MHM provided advice and guidance to the Vietnamese community which will assist them to establish their new museum that will house the stories and history of their community. It was interesting to hear the similar struggles of racism and hate from the Vietnamese leaders and understand the best way to combat this is by working together.”