Tøjhusmuseet has an exhibition about the refugees called On The Run. The collections in the exhibition from Greece asylum centers illustrate the true scenario of the tough journey of the refugees fleeing out of Syria
By Marion Chen
It is a cold and frosty Friday morning. Groups of students led by their teachers enter Tøjhusmuseet in Copenhagen to visit all exhibitions there. Among all those black cannons piled up alongside the corridor of Tøjhusmuseet, there is a big bright yellow banner with an eye-catching letter På Flugt (On the Run), which is one of the exhibitions in the museum.
“It’s very interesting. I like it,” a student from Copenhagen Adam Hug says, “It’s realistic. It is talking about what’s happening now in the world.”
“There are so many interactions and it’s easier to learn when you can move around when you see it with the virtual reality mirror,” says Paul, an eighteen-year old student.
Senior professor Lars K. Christensen who works in Tøjhusmuseet is the curator of the exhibition. According to his view, a museum is a place for all the history: starts from the way back in ancient times and lasts until yesterday evening. Everything that happens before yesterday evening is history.
“We do a lot of documentation of contemporary history,” says Lars Christensen, “When something happens which we think will have historical significance, we try to document it, almost immediately just after it has happened.”
With two orange life vests, a black rubber boat marked Humanity Denmark starts the tour of På Flugt. This is the first part of the exhibition called Risking Your Life. Then comes the second stage named From Place To Place which shows refugees living in different temporary conditions, searching for new information, being helped or exploited here and there from camp to camp. The light in the darkness is the decorations in and on the tents in camps. This is shown in the third part of the exhibition Order In Chaos. The fleeing way where people don’t know where to end leads to the fourth part of the exhibition The Journey.
Maybe in a hundred years, somebody will come and say to us, my heritage goes back to Syrian refugee, Iraqi refugee or Chinese refugee. Why is that not reflected in the museum?
Lars K. Christensen, senior professor på Tøjhusmuseet
After arriving in Denmark, a country very different from the home country, people suffered from the disasters have to find the way around the asylum system which they don’t know at all. This is the fifth part Welcome?– which all asylum seekers need to get through here in Denmark.
During the waiting time when asylum seekers learn to do a lot, such as paintings and handcrafts in the camp, is the sixth part of the exhibition Waiting Time. The end of the exhibition A New Home is a TV by a sofa showing a video of the new life refugees’ starts after being granted asylum in Denmark.
It’s interesting that there is a display panel showing that Denmark is the first country in the world to sign the UN refugee Convention in 1952, which indicates the tradition of humanity help and support of Danish people. Before the refugee crises caused by Syria War, French Huguenots, Russian Jews and German War refugees came to Denmark seeking for asylum as well, including people from Hungary, Chile, Palestine, Bosnia and Somalia which are mentioned as a few.
“We think this refugee issue is what need to be documented for the future at the museum and it will be a part of the Danish history. People who are granted asylum are potential new Danish citizens, so the story we are telling here is also going to be a part of the history of Danes,” says Lars Christensen.“Maybe in a hundred years, somebody will come and say to us, my heritage goes back to Syrian refugee, Iraqi refugee or Chinese refugee. Why is that not reflected in the museum?”
Lars also expresses that they have experienced that people, whose great grandparents came from Hungary or in the seventeen century France, have the expectation that their heritage is the part of the Danish heritage or Danish history. ”That is also the reason why we want to include the history of the refugees coming now or the ones who are coming,” says Lars Christensen.