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Nation Building at the Museum of Welsh Life

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rhiannon MasonORCiD


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This article explores the representational problems inherent in one museum’s attempt to tell a ‘national story’. The museum in question started life as the‘Welsh Folk Museum’ but in 1995 became the much broader ‘Museum of Welsh Life’. This article examines how and why this change occurred and the challenges produced by this shift in remit. The article also illustrates the processes of selection and revision which occur within museum representations and considers how these relate to competing versions of ‘the national story’ present within Wales. I argue that such revisions are inevitable in national museums which, by their very nature, aim to tell a universal story and that, as a consequence, these museums function both as a catalyst for discussion anda public forum within which debates over the accepted nature of national identity and history will occur.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mason R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Museum & Society

Year: 2005

Volume: 3

Issue: 1

Pages: 18-34

Print publication date: 01/03/2005

ISSN (print): 1479-8360

Publisher: Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester