Rediscover the stories behind some of the pieces in our collection, understanding how those pieces got to us.

The “O Caminho das Coisas” (“The Path of Things”) exhibition grew out of the intersection between people and objects in a particular setting: a museum. A product of the “Encontros com o Acervo” (“Meetings with the Collection”) project – which has promoted dialogue between the Immigration Museum (Museu da Imigração) staff and former donors, community representatives, and members of partner institutions since 2011 – the exhibition depicts the experience of rediscovering the stories behind some of the pieces in our collection, by explaining how those pieces got to us. As with many institutions around the world, the Immigration Museum (Museu da Imigração) boasts a broad and varied collection. A lot is known about some pieces; very little or almost nothing about others. However, more than simply accumulating information and meanings on their collections, museums only truly fulfill their mission when they place their collections at the center of the encounter, conversation, and exchange with disparate audiences. Below we describe the practical outcomes of this assumption through three “Meetings with the Collection”: the first, with members of São Paulo’s Lithuanian community; the second, with representatives of the Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration to Brazil (Museu Histórico da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil); and the third, with a former donor. More than mere chats, the experiences serve to frame the Museum’s relationship with its collection and with all those who in any way interact with that collection. In this light, we invite you to closely observe the exhibition objects and answer the following question: what was the path traveled by these things? How much are the objects worth? Why are they here?
The People
The exhibition’s first block introduces all of the people who participated in the “Meetings with the Collection” and in the exhibition’s development. The behind-the-scenes of the Museum are on full display – the professionals working to bring together the technical aspects of the “Meetings with the Collection”, including conservators, documentarians, museum experts, librarians and archivists, as well as educators, producers, and researchers. There are also photographs of those who volunteered with the Museum to make the rediscovery of our collection come true. And, of course, we have our visitors, who continue to provide us with new perspectives for understanding the objects in our collection.
The Pathways
The “Meetings with the Collection” provided an opportunity to record new information on the pieces selected for the exhibition. The information can be interpreted as the opening of new pathways for the Immigration Museum (Museu da Imigração), suggesting ways in which a single object can be the key to understanding any number of questions. In thinking about migration as the Museum’s central theme, we free ourselves to review on an extensive list of day-to-day objects, photographs, and text documents with which to discuss the personal memories and origins of their original owners and, in this way, paint a clearer picture of their lives and trajectories as migrants. It also enables us to think about other questions, including family and group memories; adaptation periods for migrants and their descendants in Brazil, in addition to the work that permeated their lives prior to and after migration. In short, we can think about the objects and their history as starting points for understanding the migratory process in Brazil.
Prior to the first meeting with representatives of the Lithuanian community, the only information the Museum had of the pieces was that they had been recorded as originating in Lithuania and that amber was one of their constituent components. The meeting served to reveal that amber is a popular and important material for Lithuanians and their descendants. Amber comes in a variety of colors and is commonly used in the production of jewelry and crafts in that country, as reflected in the two pieces on display. The material is also employed in typical apparel and for medicinal purposes. Also referred to as “Lithuania’s gold,” amber is the country’s national stone.
The two pieces on display were documented in the Museum’s records as items of Lithuanian origin. However, the meaning of each piece was rediscovered, thanks to the Encounter with the Collection: they speak to the country’s recent history. The calendar on display dates from 1990, when Lithuania gained its independence from the former Soviet Union. The calendar also includes the colors of the national flag, which began flying again in 1990 after a long period of prohibition by the Soviet regime. The piece bears a direct relation to the miniature flag, which predates independence. It is a symbol of the pro-independence movement led by Lithuanian migrants and their descendants around the world, including Brazil. The colors have their own special meaning as well. According to one interpretation, yellow represents gold, green, the forest, and red, the blood spilled in war.
Up to the Encounter with the Collection held with the Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration to Brazil, this item had been identified as a kimono. With the help of museum representatives, the piece was confirmed to be a “Haori,” a type of jacket worn over the kimono on cold days. The exhibition piece is a male Haori without lining. Shorter than the kimono, the Haori is worn over the kimono on formal occasions, along with pants. A notable detail of the piece is a subtle circular design in five different places. The design likely represents a family crest, known as the “wheel of eight arrows".
During the Meeting with the Collection session at the Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration to Brazil, two other items were more precisely identified as well: a hat and a photograph. The hat, for which there was scarce recorded information, is an accessory to the suit worn as part of the traditional dance of Okinawa – the Ryukyu Buyo. Ryukyu was the name of a kingdom that ruled the region encompassing modern-day Okinawa through the 14th Century. Despite the area’s current designation, the former kingdom continues to give the dance its name. The dance emerged as a way to pay tribute to Chinese kings and delegations that maintained commercial relations in the region. The hat’s blue detail includes waves that conjure the sea of Okinawa, while its shape evokes a lotus flower. For its part, the photograph is likely the image of a baby on its Hundred-Day Anniversary, signaling the moment children were deemed strong enough to be taken out in public. They were dressed in kimonos, embellished with different stamps for boys and girls and taken to be blessed by a monk. After the ceremony, the family gathered for a meal to continue celebrating this very special day.
From a Meeting with the Collection session with Mr. Egydio Torrezani, we learned the story of the tool box belonging to Mr. Luiz (Luigi) Torrezani, Mr. Torrenzani’s grandfather. Luiz was a carpenter who brought his work tool aboard the vessel Cachar. He and his tool box arrived at the Port of Santos in February 1889. As with countless other immigrants, he made a point of bringing his tool box with him as a way of ensuring he could continue pursuing his craft in his new home.
Multiple Stories
Museums can serve as a space for boundless storytelling, narrated from a variety of viewpoints. Hence, the research process never ends; each object affords us the possibility of learning more about ourselves or about the lives of other individuals, people, and places. Initially, the exhibition brought us pieces donated in earlier years, with little in the way of recorded information. These pieces present both a challenge and an opportunity to learn. In some cases, they represent objects of day-to-day life, such as a cork shaped in a manner that piques our interest: a bull’s head notable for the detail of one of its horns. In other cases, the original utility of a given object may be difficult to discern, such as the figador. As part of the process of discovery, therefore, we have decided to invite our visitors to ask and share their own questions about these objects and, in this way, offer us new ways to think about them.

The finishing on the wood carvings may suggest that the object served as an ornament. Would you decorate your home with one? Have you ever seen anything like it?

Could this object have been used for fishing? Or gardening? Or as a good-luck charm?

Do you think these tweezers were used to pick things up carefully or to yank them out of places? If you read Japanese, could you help us translate what is written?

Do you think the object was used to feed and water birds? Do you detect any talon or beak marks that could prove this theory? Or was the contraption used for another purpose?

Do you think the game involves skill or luck? Could some of the pieces be missing? Have you ever played a similar game?

Bullfighting is one of Spain’s most important cultural expressions. Do you think the cork is a souvenir of this celebration? For what types of bottled beverages might it have been used?

Would you keep an elephant trophy at home? Why would someone produce an imitation elephant trophy?

The Object
Eva Maria Augusta Boeckh Haebisch was born in the 1920s in the Black Forest region of Germany. She studied medicine during the Second World War, serving as a nurse for the Red Cross. Following the War, Eva received a scholarship to John Hopkins University in the United States, then moved to Stockholm, Norway. Her life to that point had also included a bicycle trip from her hometown of Heidelberg in Germany to the Spanish city of Barcelona. In this same period between 1950 and 1955, she was employed by a clinic at the University of Heidelberg. She was then offered the opportunity to migrate to Brazil. On June 19, 1955, she arrived at the Port of Santos in São Paulo. In 1956, she married Horst Haebisch, himself a doctor, and moved to the north section of São Paulo. In 1963, Eva successfully revalidated her medical degree, whereupon she opened her own practice near the República Square in São Paulo. She also taught at the University of São Paulo, working at the Institute of Biological Sciences for many years.

The donor brought the suitcase, which had originally belonged to her mother, also named Eva Boeckh, with her to Brazil in 1955.

A type of jacket, also known as an “anorak.” The donor acquired the garment between the years 1949 and 1950 in the city of Heidelberg, Germany, where she lived. It was a US military jacket worn by American troops housed in Eva’s city in the years following the Second World War. The jacket was dyed and split into two separate items of clothing, one of which Eva gave to a friend. She wore her part (the lining) on her trek from her hometown to Barcelona by bicycle. The donor continued to wear the jacket into the 1990s.

According to the donor, the object belonged to Christa Radius, another German immigrant who came to Brazil in the 1950s.

The camera was purchased by the donor’s father, Eduardo Boeckh, in Paris in 1910. It was used through 1925 in the city of Schiltach, Germany.

According to the donor, the binoculars date to the First World War.

According to the donor, the make-up case dates to 1900 and belonged to Christa Radius, another German immigrant who came to Brazil in the 1950s.

The donor used the ruler in her research work at the Institute of Physiology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Bread knife made by the donor’s husband, Horst Haebisch.

Magazine used by the donor’s husband, Horst Haebisch, one of whose hobbies was the assembly of audio systems.

Book written in German with the following inscription on the cover “Ostern - Sara Grabo.” According to the donor, the poetry album belonged to Christa Radius, another German immigrant who came to Brazil in the 1950s. A passage from the diary, translated from German to Portuguese in collaboration with the Martius Staden Institute, reads as follows: “May your heart be your greatest treasure, may it cleanse you every day, may it leave you clean and beautiful, that it may be free of the dust of sin. In memory of professor Oswaldo Friedrich.” (Free translation)

According to the donor, the diary belonged to Christa Radius, another German immigrant who came to Brazil in the 1950s.

Lutheran Bible belonging to Christa Radius.

Shoes worn by donor on her journey to Brazil. According to her recollection, she never again wore the shoes after her arrival in Brazil.

Shoes worn by Horst Haebisch.

Shoe frames donated with the shoes worn by the donor on her journey to Brazil.

Credits: Story


Governador do Estado

Secretário de Estado da Cultura

Regina Célia Pousa Ponte
Coordenadora da Unidade de Preservação do Patrimônio Museológico


Roberto Penteado de Camargo Ticoulat
Presidente do Conselho de Administração

Carlos Henrique Jorge Brando
Vice-presidente do Conselho de Administração

Guilherme Braga Abreu Pires Neto
Sérgio Ferreira Silva Carvalhaes
Comitê Executivo

Alessandra Almeida
Diretora Executiva

Thiago Santos
Diretor Administrativo

Caroline Nóbrega
Gerente de Comunicação e Desenvolvimento Institucional

Mariana Esteves Martins
Coordenadora Técnica do Museu da Imigração



Lucinea Gomes do Nascimento
Maria Christina Chiara
Melise Pereira Lopes da Silva

César Pimenta
Trajano Rodrigues
Adriano Aparecido de Jesus do Carmo
Bruno dos Santos Callender
Elisangela Maria Melo da Silva
Glecia Lopes Ferreira
Grimaldo Madeira da Silva
Janifer Martinelli da Silva
Maria Aparecida dos Santos
Maria Sandra Soares Batista
Railde Maria Lima
Rogério Vagner da Silva
Veronica Simão da Silva

Recepção e bilheteria
Débora Castequini Lemes
Drielly Gloria dos Santos
Simone Monteiro de Brito

Tecnologia da informação
Alexandre Jorge Cardoso
Rafael da Silva e Souza

Thâmara Malfatti
Bruno Otavio Toma da Silva
Mayara Souto


Comunicação Museológica
Juliana Silveira
Vivian Bortolotti

Isabela Maia
Aline Oliveira
Ana Menezes
Bruna Marques
Felipe Pontoni
Guilherme Ramalho
Jennifer Lu
Juliana Barros
Luiz Gregório G. de Camargo
Mariana Kimie Nito
Raquel Freitas
Valeria Chagas

Tatiana Chang Waldman
Angélica Beghini
Henrique Trindade Abreu

Denise Souza
Juliana Batista
Letícia Brito de Sá
Luciane Santesso
Victor Marques


Juliana Monteiro

Alessandra Sampaio
Angélica Beghini
Henrique Trindade Abreu
Letícia Brito de Sá
Luciane Santesso
Tatiana Chang Waldman

Conservação de acervo
Ana Beatriz Giacomini
Lívia Alli

Registro fotográfico dos encontros
Ana Beatriz Giacomini
Henrique Trindade Abreu
Letícia Sá
Lívia Alli
Pedro Malafaia
Rodrigo Antônio dos Santos
Tatiana Chang Waldman
Thaís Klarge Minoda

Revisão de texto
Alessandra Sampaio
Angélica Beghini

Expografia e produção
Juliana Silveira
Vivian Bortolotti

Ilustrações para a exposição
Vivian Bortolotti

Dínamo [Alexsandro Souza]

Material educativo
Paola Maués
Adilson Medeiros dos Santos
Aline Oliveira
Ana Menezes
Bruna Marques
Conrado Secassi
Guilherme Ramalho
Isabela Maia
José Pedro Viviani
Juliana Barros
Luiz Gregório G. de Camargo
Paulo Rogerio dos Santos
Raquel Freitas

Ilustrações para o material educativo
Conrado Secassi

Registro fotográfico do acervo
Angélica Beghini
Conrado Secassi
Isabela Maia
Rodrigo Antonio dos Santos

Adilson Paodzuenas, Amaury J. Torrezani, Ana Paula Tatarunas Di Giorno, Angelina Tatarunas, Asta Braslauskas, Daniel Quirino dos Santos, Egydio Torrezani, Emiko Nakashima, Helena Zizas, Hisae Eguchi, Iedvyga Nikitin, Irene Petraitis, Janete Nikitin Zizas, Lidia Reiko Yamashita, Lúcia M. Jodelis Butrimavicius, Lucilene L. Torrezani, Pedro Malafaia, Shuko Takada, Thaís Klarge Minoda

Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade/FGV Rio, Creative Commons Brasil, Grupo Wikimedia Brasileiro de Educação e Pesquisa, Instituto Martius Staden, Museu Histórico da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil, New Bedford Whaling Museum/Estados Unidos

Equipes de Administração, Comunicação e Desenvolvimento Institucional, Infraestrutura e Técnica do Museu da Imigração

Voluntários do Museu da Imigração: Adriana Mendes Diogo, Carolina Nóbrega da Rocha Martins, Cristina Garcia Martinez, Felipe Augusto Chadi da Silva, Jessika Crispim Oliveira, Rodrigo Antonio dos Santos, Tereza A. Naked, Victor Taciano Cabral.

Licença Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International

Esta licença permite que outros façam download e compartilhem os conteúdos produzidos pelo Museu da Imigração desde que atribuam crédito ao MI e aos respectivos autores, mas sem que possam alterá-los de nenhuma forma ou utilizá-los para fins comerciais.

Museu da Imigração
Rua Visconde de Parnaíba, 1316
Mooca - São Paulo-SP
(11) 2692-1866
Horário de funcionamento da bilheteria: Terça a sábado das 9h às 17h - Domingo das 10h às 17h

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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