Announcing the launch of the Multicultural Museums Victoria network, and its inaugural joint exhibition project, Grandmothers

Opening Sunday 6 May

Multicultural Museums Victoria (MMV) is proud to officially announce its formation. In an Australian first, the Chinese Museum, Co.As.It Italian Historical Society & Museo Italiano, Hellenic Museum, Islamic Museum of Australia and Jewish Museum of Australia, have joined together in a unique alliance. By creating a collective brand and platform for collaboration, MMV amplifies the cultural, social and economic impact each museum already delivers for its visitors and the community.

Both locally and internationally, Multicultural Museums Victoria is a unique example of multiple ethno-specific museums collaborating to share their heritage, culture, art and experience. The Multicultural Museums Victoria concept, which embodies diversity, facilitates dialogue and encourages knowledge and understanding of all cultures, is timely. MMV reflects the best of Melbourne: creativity, boldness, diversity, collaboration, innovation and inclusiveness. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, MMV shows off five cultures that have helped shape our vibrant and diverse city.

Jewish Museum of Australia Director & CEO Rebecca Forgasz said on behalf of Multicultural Museums Victoria, “We are thrilled to introduce MMV to Victoria’s arts and cultural sector. We are dedicated to promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation of Victoria’s multicultural heritage and to strengthening Melbourne’s reputation as a culturally rich and diverse city. MMV is a unique collaboration between five highly regarded Melbourne institutions, and it had been a pleasure to embark on this project.”

On Sunday 6 May, MMV launches its inaugural project, ‘Grandmothers’, stories of grandmothers from across Melbourne. The theme of ‘grandmothers’, which is at the heart and soul of Multicultural Museums Victoria’s first major joint project, is universal: everyone has a grandmother, and grandmothers play a significant role in various ways in so many cultures. Because of the universal appeal of the theme, and because of its warm emotional associations, ‘Grandmothers’ provides an extremely accessible encounter with cultural difference, and opportunities to develop intercultural interaction, understanding and appreciation.

Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission Helen Kapalos said “When I first heard about the ‘grandmothers’ exhibition I was moved profoundly by the theme, which spoke to all communities, all people, and the common humanity we share across cultures, across the world, across time and across the generations: the familiar and familial matriarchal figure of the grandmother. I would like to commend MMV on this inspiring initiative.”

These five extraordinary exhibitions invite the public to celebrate the accomplishments, wisdom and central role of the grandmother in Chinese, Italian, Greek, Muslim and Jewish communities. ‘Grandmothers’ pays tribute to this diverse group of women who, as custodians of culture and tradition, pass on their knowledge, culture and history from generation to generation. In addition to these exhibitions, MMV is presenting a series of joint events, including a free open day at each of the five museums on Sunday 6 May to launch the project.

From the Jewish Museum of Australia in St Kilda to the Museo Italiano in Carlton, the Hellenic Museum and Chinese Museum in the CBD to the Islamic Museum of Australia in Thornbury, join us for a celebration of these women who are loved, and revered, but whose voices are rarely heard publicly, and whose roles are often not formally recognised. Multicultural Museums Victoria invites Melburnians and tourists alike, to celebrate our city’s exceptional diversity.

Image credit: Elli Bardas