National Museums: New Studies from around the World


Simon J. Knell, Peter Aronsson, Arne Bugge Amundsen, Amy Jane Barnes, Stuart Burch, Jennifer Carter, Vivian Gosselin, Sarah A. Hughes and Alan Kirwan (eds), National Museums: New Studies from Around the World (London: Routledge, 2011).


National Museums is the first book to explore the national museum as a cultural institution in a range of contrasting national contexts. Composed of new studies of countries that rarely make a showing in the English-language studies of museums, this book reveals how these national museums have been used to create a sense of national self, place the nation in the arts, deal with the consequences of political change, remake difficult pasts, and confront those issues of nationalism, ethnicity and multiculturalism which have come to the fore in national politics in recent decades.

National Museums combines research from both leading and new researchers in the fields of history, museum studies, cultural studies, sociology, history of art, media studies, science and technology studies, and anthropology. It is an interrogation of the origins, purpose, organisation, politics, narratives and philosophies of national museums.


Access to the Accepted Manuscript version of Chapter 1 via the link below. If citing please refer to the published version.


Part One Introductions and Reflections

1 Simon Knell: National museums and the national imagination
2 Peter Aronsson: Explaining national museums: Exploring comparative approaches to the study of national museums
3 Donald Preziosi: Myths of nationality

Part Two Origins and Ideologies

4 Matters Bäckström: Loading guns with patriotic love: Artur Hazelius’s attempts at Skansen to remake Swedish society
5 Jennifer Carter: Narrative and imagination: Remaking national history at the Musée des Monuments français, Paris
6 Christopher Whitehead: National art museum practice as political cartography in nineteenth-century Britain
7 Chris Wingfield: Placing Britain in the British Museum: Encompassing the Other
9 Karoline Kaluza: Reimagining the nation in museums: Poland’s old and new national museums
10 Ayse H. Köksal: National art museums and the ‘modernization’ of Turkey
11 Chi-Jung Chu: Political change and the national museum in Taiwan
12 Sarah A. Hughes: The British Museum in print: From national to universal museum

Part Three Museology and Participation

13 Eugenia Afinoguénova: The nation disrobed: Nudity, leisure and class at the Prado
14 Stuart Burch: Taking part: Performance, participation and national art museums
15 Rhiannon Mason: Representing Wales at the Museum of Welsh Life
16 Simina Bādicā: Same exhibitions, different labels? Romanian national museums and the fall of communism
17 Sunghee Choi: Re-thinking Korean cultural identities at the National Museum of Korea
18 Marzia Varutti: The aesthetics and narratives of national museums in China
19 Gwenny van Hasselt: The Dutch National Historical Museum: A national museum for the twenty-first century
20 Pille Runnel, Taavi Tatsi and Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt: Who authors the nation? The debate surrounding the building of the new Estonian National Museum
21 Emily Stokes-Rees: Recounting history: Constructing a national narrative in the Hong Kong Museum of History

Part Four Ourselves and Others

22 Ruth Scheidhauer: Kaesōng Koryō Museum: The place of one Korean nation?
23 Jung Joon Lee: The national museum as palimpsest: Postcolonial politics and the National Museum of Korea
24 Amy Jane Barnes: Exhibiting China in London
25 Lotten Gustafsson Reins: Exhibiting the Congo in Stockholm
26 Radostina Sharenkova: After the fall of the Berlin Wall: Nationalism and multiculturalism at the Bulgarian National Ethnographic Museum
27 Karen D. Shelby: The IJzertoren Memorial Museum: A Flemish national museum?
28 Alan Kirwan: Postcolonialism, ethnicity and the National Museum of Ireland
29 Cristina Lleras: Facing up to diversity: Conversations at the National Museum of Colombia