In 2017, the Jewish Museum of Australia – with support from the Islamic Museum of Australia – received a three-year grant from the Sidney Myer Fund to develop and deliver the grassroots program with students from Jewish and Islamic schools.
Running between July and November 2019, the first iteration of Museums Together saw 100 students from King David School and Sirius College get to know each other, train as guides at their respective museums, and act as hosts when their counterparts visited – cultivating a deeper understanding of their own culture while encountering another not as close to home. The pilot program closed at the Islamic Museum of Australia.
Former Jewish Museum of Australia Director & CEO Rebecca Forgasz: ‘Museums Together is an important initiative for the Jewish Museum of Australia. Not religiously or politically affiliated, we are able to play a unique role in promoting understanding and respect between Jews and Muslims. By starting with students, we hope to break down barriers and open hearts. We are incredibly proud to be undertaking this project, which has the potential for significant impact at an individual and community level.’
Islamic Museum of Australia General Manager Maryum Chaudhry: ‘Museums Together provides a platform for young people to engage in spirited dialogue, build cross-cultural understanding and strengthen connection between our local communities.’
Developed by educators from each Museum, Museums Together runs across four sessions in collaboration with the Immigration Museum, Melbourne Playback Theatre Company and St Kilda Shule. It has been tailored to integrate with the Victorian civics and citizenship, ethical capability, intercultural capability, and personal and social capability curricula.
Museums Together aims to go beyond educating each group about their commonalities and differences to build bridges between the two communities so future generations might respect and accept each other, and stand against intolerance and racism.
Jewish Museum of Australia Senior Education Coordinator Jenny Better: ‘In the aftermath of Christchurch, we must do all we can to combat intolerance and division. Exposing students to difference is the simplest way to achieve this.’
To learn more about Museums Together, please get in touch here.