The Community Banners collection currently consists of more than 40 banners made between 1985 and the present day. In 1985, before the Migration Museum opened, staff invited community groups to make banners representing their memories, hopes and dreams as immigrants. These banners were displayed for the first time in May 1986 and were a feature of the Museum opening later that year. All banners were made up to Museum specifications using different fabrics and craft techniques. Since the initial workshops, at which almost 30 communities were represented, other communities have approached the Museum and donated banners. The collection is expected to continue to grow as more banners are donated.
When the Migration Museum was establishing itself Museum staff were keen to get to know and be known amongst South Australia’s culturally diverse communities. The Community Banners project was instrumental in building some of those early networks. The banners represent diverse cultures in South Australia. Some banners have been made by one person on behalf of a community, others by small groups in a shared community project. The images used on the banners cover a range of themes representing: common memories of historical events, local landscapes, trees, flowers and animals, myths and legends, heroes and religious themes, the unforgettable experience of making a journey to a new life, and a search for symbols of community and history in the new land. The banners provide a record of how cultural communities in South Australia chose to represent their own past and their hopes for their future.