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Title: The cultural construction of history in museums and heritage attractions
Author: Speakman, Lydia M.
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 1992
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This study examines the role of the curator in the interpretation of history in museums and heritage attractions. The research uses data from twelve case studies collected from observation and interviews to examine the decision-making processes undertaken by curators in devising exhibitions and displays. The study examines the different interpretative opportunities available to the curator in determining their construction of history, in the selection of artefacts and the choice of historical interpretative approaches and interpretative techniques. The study demonstrates that the curator has to mediate his or her interpretative choices with a number of constraints. These constraints include the availability of artefacts, finance, the market, institutional structure and the ethics of the museum profession. In examining this decision-making process, the study argues that the construction of history in museums and heritage attractions represents a microcosm of the wider processes involved in the cultural construction of history. The study examines the role of history in society in upholding current beliefs and practices. Museums, as cultural institutions concerned with the past, are on the forefront of presenting society with its selective tradition, and as such are symbols of present values and attitudes. Curators, by virtue of their institutional role, are part of this wider cultural dynamic. Therefore their constructions of history in exhibitions, remain firmly within the current sociopolitical boundary, even though those constructions may also act to test and extend that same boundary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available