Welcome to the Emigration Museum in Gdynia
Rafał Raczynski Ph.D., Chief Research Officer,
Sebastian Tyrakowski, Deputy Director
Emigration Museum in Gdynia is a modern cultural institution with an extensive offer that includes aspects such as education, culture, exhibition, and research programme. The museum is right by the sea under a symbolic address - ul. Polska 1 (Polish Street 1), and is located in a historic building of Marine Station. Created in the interwar period, it was the key location of the prewar passenger traffic, where the legendary Polish transatlantic liners docked, and where, until the outbreak of the Second World War, dozens of thousands of people left Poland. Emigration Museum in Gdynia is one of only a few institutions in the world where history is told in a place where it was made - in a building that used to handle the migration movement.
Considering the continuity of the migration and people’s movement over the centuries, both today and in the past, the exposition’s axis is based within the chronological-societal narration, presenting the last 200 years of social history. The phenomena’s currency also influences the fact that the last segment of the exhibition is constantly supplemented by the modern threads, putting the museum among a small number of institutions of this kind telling the history that is continually being made every day.
The permanent exhibition is the first and only exhibition in Poland presenting thoroughly the history of emigration from Poland and the Polish territories over the ages. Around 20 million of Poles or those declaring to have Polish roots live nowadays outside of the country. It puts Poland in the very top regarding the size of the diaspora in relation to the overall population, while simultaneously defining the importance of the Polish emigration and the need for such an institution familiarising and educating about the stories of millions of countrymen scattered all over the world.
We try to present the matters related to the history and modern forms of migration processes from various perspectives and with the use of different media. An important issue on which the recent research by the museum has been focused is the migration of the individuals rich in human capital, such as highly qualified workers and students. Such interest in migrants with high social-professional competencies has been especially manifested in two research projects conducted in 2018-2020.
The first one is a pilot research initiative called ‘E-migracja. Polska diaspora technologiczna,’ done in cooperation with PLUGin Polish Innovation Diaspora foundation in London, which aims to create a global community of leaders that have relations and associations with Poland, within the field of innovation and technology.
The project had an innovative character - it was the first research of Poles and people with Polish roots, that work abroad in a broadly understood modern economic sectors, on such a comprehensive scale. We wanted to gather basic data related to their life and professional situation, so we would then be able to formulate the general characteristics of the studied group.
The detailed results of the research were presented in the publication ‘E-migracja. Polska diaspora technologiczna. Raport z badań,’ and are available online.
We are also interested in younger emigrants. Hence, we want to get to know both the plans of the alumni-to-be of High School Nr 3 in Gdynia (III LO w Gdyni) that have decided to study abroad and the dominant conditioning linked to such plans. III LO in Gdynia is one of the best and most prestigious high schools in Poland. For years, it has been ranked in the very top of high schools in the Magazine ‘Perspektywy’ ranking. Each year, several dozen students of this school plan to enter university outside of Poland, and successively pursue that dream. We have decided to use the situation to ask about the reasons and personal motivations that lead to such a decision, including life experiences, preferred countries, universities and courses.
In the upcoming years, we are planning to continue the highly qualified migrants research. Also, this year, we introduce the second edition of ‘E-migration’ project. Just like in the case of the pilot edition, the project is going to consist of two parts. The first stage is going to be based on quantitative research in the form of a survey shared on the project’s website, while the second one - quantitative research of in-depth interviewing.
For the purpose of the second edition, we have modified the research tools and added new questions linked to the current situation (e.g. how the COVID-19 pandemics has influenced both the private and professional life of the researched group), as well as the issues related to the migration stereotypes. Quantitative research began in October.
Today, we encourage you to take part in the research and in the sharing of information about the project among all people that might be interested. Follow our website and social media.