Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.712696
Title: Museums and Englishness : the failure to establish a national museum in twentieth century England
Author: Carter, Thomas
Awarding Body: University of Gloucestershire
Current Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This thesis takes as its starting in point an examination of the complex and contested construction of English national identity and its deeply problematized intertwining with ideas of Britishness. By examining three case studies of failed English national museum projects, this dissertation has demonstrated that these proposals have not coalesced around a consistent interpretation of Englishness, but upon specific, threatened forms of culture such as the preservation of rural, agricultural and folk heritage; or have been motivated by a particular desire to inculcate a sense of citizenship through the improvement of history education. Each of these projects failed because of practical and financial shortcomings, but their failure also reveals much about contemporary debates upon the nature of English national culture, as well as several consistent issues which have impeded the creation of an English national museum. Firstly, that the absence of cohesive definitions of Englishness and Britishness means that the notion of a national museum has become intensely politicised, and therefore, public funding has not been forthcoming. Secondly, those definitions of Englishness that have arisen have formed around localised, often rural cultures, and thusly the idea of a single, London based national institution has met resistance from regional museums. Finally, the thesis demonstrates that museological paradigms have shifted significantly over the course of the twentieth century. Changing attitudes to interpretive practices, the role of curatorial authority, proscriptive ideas of culture, and museum-visitor relationships, have effectively made the very concept of a centralised national museum antithetical to the museum community. The original contribution of this thesis then, is in demonstrating how the inability and reticence to define a homogenous English national identity has impacted upon the creation of an English national museum.
Supervisor: Robertson, Iain ; Cowen, Harry ; Morrisroe, Vicky Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.712696  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D History (General) ; DA Great Britain
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