Belgian Red Star Line Museum looking for emigrant photographs, memorabilia and stories (1873-1934, Antwerp to New York)

Guest Post by Charlotte Op de Beeck

Between 1873 and 1934 the legendary shipping company Red Star Line transported more than two million passengers to America. Poor European emigrants in search of the American Dream, but also affluent passengers travelling for business or pleasure left for New York. They departed from the Belgian port city of Antwerp, where the Red Star Line warehouses were situated.To this day, those Red Star Line warehouses are preserved. For many passengers they represented the last stop on the European mainland. It was there that, just before their departure, the emigrants travelling in third class underwent a medical examination and were disinfected, while clerks scrutinized their documents.

The Red Star Line buildings are protected monuments. They are part of the communal memory of countless new Americans. They had long been standing empty and were begging for a new purpose. In the spring of 2012 the new Red Star Line Museum | People on the Move will open its doors at this historic location. It will be a place of remembrance, experience, debate and research into international mobility, both past and present. The story of Red Star Line and its passengers will be brought to life once more.

Do you have any old Red Star Line items such as postcards, luggage, diaries or photos? Are there travel stories or objects preserved in the family archive? Maybe you too can contribute to the new museum’s collection. Send an e-mail to or call (+32) 3 206 03 50. Perhaps your family item will find its way into the future museum… All leads are welcome!

More information at


  1. I saw the Red Star Line artifacts at the Steen, Het/National Maritime Museum in April of 2008. Are the displays still available to view while the new museum is being built?

  2. My Grandfather, Sidney Joseph Jackson, was President of Red Star Line in Antwerp in 1926. He was involved with the Line and associated shipping companies for most of his life and we had quite a lot of Red Star Line memorabilia, including the Chief Engineers Desk from the Belgenland. These have now all been handed over to the museum in Antwerp.
    David Marchington.


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