A highlight of the year, Shire Hall Museum is delighted to host a British Museum Spotlight Loan Crossings: community and refuge. This exhibition will engage audiences in questions of identity, belonging and sharing our world.

Shire Hall Museum is the final venue on this UK wide tour from the British Museum, the first time the Lampedusa cross have been displayed across the country. Made from the remnants of a boat carrying refugees wrecked near the Italian island of Lampedusa, close to the coast of Tunisia, the cross carries poignant messages about kindness, community and the indifference faced by many refugees.

Alongside the cross will be a display of twelve tiny boats from Syrian-born Issam Kourbajʼs series Dark Water, Burning World, made from repurposed bicycle mudguards tightly packed with burnt matches to represent the fragile vessels used by refugees to make their perilous voyages across the Mediterranean.

Alongside the objects on loan from the British Museum, the exhibition will feature objects kindly loaned by Dorset History Centre and Portland Museum. From the 1872 wreckage of the Royal Adelaide and the thousands of people travelling through Blandford from across the world to penal transportation and forced migration overseas, the exhibition will explore the journeys people made and their impact throughout the world.

Nina Corey, Director of Shire Hall Museum, says: “Throughout history, people have set out on journeys across our world. Some are made by choice, others in hope and there are also journeys people have been forced to make. In this exhibition, we’re taking a closer look at the stories behind those journeys.

“Inspired by the incredible objects loaned to us by the British Museum, we wanted to explore our local history and the stories of people who travelled through or from Dorset. We were interested not just in the journeys that people made but the reasons and motivation behind them.”

Crossings: community and refuge is at Shire Hall Museum from 2nd December 2022 until 26th February 2023.

Entry to the exhibition is included with a Museum ticket.