Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | Using Different Pasts in a Similar Way: Museum Representations of National History in Norway and China

Title:
Using Different Pasts in a Similar Way: Museum Representations of National History in Norway and China
Author:
Marzia Varutti: School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.10240745
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2010
Volume:
2
Theme:
Theme: Uses of the Past – Nordic Historical Cultures in a Comparative Perspective
Pages:
745-768
No. of pages:
24
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2010-12-17


This article explores how national histories are constructed in the museums of Norway. It does so through a comparative perspective, whereby museum displays of national past in Norway are being compared to museum displays of national past in the People’s Republic of China. This will involve comparing narratives, museological approaches, rationale and purposes of museum displays in the two countries.

Fieldwork research in museums in Norway and China suggests that if national pasts are obviously unique to the historical trajectories of each country, their museum renditions are structured in an intriguingly similar way. Museum displays of national pasts in Norway develop around a set of themes including myths of ancestry and descent; epics of resistance leading the embryonic nation through a dark era and towards a “Golden Age”; a core of moral and aesthetic values; notions of national modernity; and selective amnesia. I will show how similar topics can be found in museum displays of the past in Chinese museums.

The comparative perspective of the analysis enables me to assess the uniqueness of museum representations of the past in Norway and at the same time to explore analogies in the museum construction of national narratives beyond the European context, through the case study of China. This will lead me to put forward the hypothesis of the coagulation, at international level, of a canon for the museum representation of national history.

Keywords: Museums; Norway; China; national history; representation

Volume 2, Theme: Theme: Uses of the Past – Nordic Historical Cultures in a Comparative Perspective, Article 40, 2010

Author:
Marzia Varutti
Title:
Using Different Pasts in a Similar Way: Museum Representations of National History in Norway and China
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.10240745
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  • Volume 2, Theme:: Theme: Uses of the Past – Nordic Historical Cultures in a Comparative Perspective, Article 40, 2010

    Author:
    Marzia Varutti
    Title:
    Using Different Pasts in a Similar Way: Museum Representations of National History in Norway and China
    DOI:
    10.3384/cu.2000.1525.10240745
    Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
    Citations:
    No citations available at the moment
     

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