A few years ago, The Chicago Tribune published an article penned by Rick Steves, noted travel guide and travel show host. Rick featured several emigration centers in Europe. He briefly describes what can be found at emigration museums, and supplies the url address for each. Here is a synopsis of his thoughts :
Norwegian Emigration Center : The port city of Stravanger is the location of this museum. This center features stories of Norwegian emigrants and their lives, their reasons for leaving their country, and what life was like in the New World. According to Steves, the first emigration boats departed in 1825. The staff at the center can help you to answer genealogy questions. You don't need to visit the center to ask for staff help, however, Steves suggests that there is a "romantic appeal" to placing yourself in the place where your Norwegian ancestors may have left years ago.
The url for the center : emigrationcenter.com
The House of Emigrants in Vaxjo, Sweden : Many Swedes looked for safety and shelter in North America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Economy problems all over Europe made the decision to leave for America a little easier. Steves reports that over one million Swedes voyaged to the "promised land". There are many displays and exhibits depicting the life of the Swedish family as they worked to establish themselves in their new homeland. One may not know that many Swedes were aboard the Titanic on the ill-fated trip across the Atlantic.
The url for this center : utvandrarnashus.se
The Hamburg BallinStadt Emigration Museum : So many Germany citizens left their homeland to escape the tyranny of the various governments that ruled them. The BallinStadt Museum exhibits the emigration experience from the mid 1800s to World War II. Steves describes the dormitory buildings where sick travelers stayed until they were healthy enough to continue on their journey.
The url for this center : ballinstadt.net
The Ulster American Folk Park and The Cobh Heritage Centre : These are both wonderful choices in Ireland. The Ulster Park commemorates the Scots-Irish who left their homeland to settle in the southern states in America. The Cobh Heritage Centre exhibits the potato famine, emigration and the Australia-bound prison ships. Steves notes that there's a statue of the first immigrant to arrive in Ellis Island. The Centre has a genealogy search assistance, available for a fee.
The urls for these centers : nmni.com and cobhheritage.com
The Red Star Line Museum : Antwerp was the major port in Belgium. Their Red Star Line Museum opened in 2013. Millions of emigrants boarded here on their trip to the New York, including a large number of Jews escaping persecution in Europe. Steves wrote that this museum holds the history of the shipping line, and exhibits artifacts from passengers.
The url for this center : redstarline.org
The article referenced : Chicago Tribune, Travel, Section 5, Sunday, March 10, 2013