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In search of their roots

23.04.2019 - 6.10.2019

How do you build a family tree when there are no more traces? How do memories evolve over time? What is truth and what is fiction? And what traces do you want to leave on this world? The presentation 'Roots seekers' showed the story of people who, moved by their roots, went in search of their own distant and recent past.

The buildings of the Red Star Line Museum breathe stories. Thousands of migrants passed through here, looking for a new future, a new story of their own. Generations later, their descendants are often barely aware of the difficult journey that preceded their present lives. A crumpled picture in the attic or an unlikely anecdote that grandfather always repeated are sometimes the only traces that remain.

In recent years, the many stories told by the museum have prompted visitors to look for their own historical or recent roots. With sometimes only a discoloured postcard, they went back in time, discovered special stories and came into contact with distant relatives. In this presentation some of these 'root seekers' and their search are central.

The museum invited students of the Sint-Agnesinstitute on a search for their own family and migration history. The lives of these girls are permeated by migration. Their stories are vulnerable and the search was never fully completed. Among the testimonies of Red Star Line passengers, these young rootseekers proudly showed the result.


Stories, objects and beautiful creations were hidden in small rooms, behind shutters or under shelves. You discovered how music, a piece of cake or erased traces on a picture can be the trigger for a voyage of discovery.

  • 'In search of their roots' was shown from 23 April until 6 October 2019, in the Shed.

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