The Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp is back in business after a renovation to its historical building and exhibition spaces.
Between 1873 and 1934 more than two million passengers travelled from Antwerp to North America on board Red Star Line ships. The Red Star Line Museum, located in the neighbourhood of ‘t Eilandje near the river Scheldt, tells their stories as a ‘lieu de mémoire’ for 60 years of transatlantic emigration.
After a renovation that lasted for three months the museum re-opened. The renovation included some structural works to the 19th-century building, the legendary shipping lines’ former warehouses.
The museum also carried out changes to its café, which has been moved to a new mezzanine. The café is now also home to the line’s passenger records, which are accessible to visitors.
The permanent collection has been expanded. The final section of the permanent exhibition, devoted to the emigrants’ arrival at Ellis Island, has been augmented with new stories and memories from the families who left and their descendants in America. The visitors come to realize that there is simply no end to the stories of the Red Star Line passengers.
The new temporary exhibition Thuishaven (Safe Haven) brings the story into the 21st century, focusing on modern-day immigrants to Antwerp. It collects the stories of newcomers, from those who came from another Belgian town to those who came from another continent.