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Title: Museological representations of African-American history, cultures, and experiences
Author: Burnham, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 7973 281X
Awarding Body: Edge Hill University
Current Institution: Edge Hill University
Date of Award: 2019
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My thesis comparatively analyzes museological representations of African-American history, cultures, and experiences in four museums: the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama; the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois; the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England. In addition to examining these histories, this thesis also questions the roles of location and politics in the creation of these museums, as well as how these elements impact the narratives presented in each institution. Moreover, this thesis incorporates debates from museum studies and tourism studies, applying concepts like authenticity and the tensions between education and entertainment to black history museums. This research also questions how these museums approach historical narratives in our modern world. In a highly-politicized time in which truth and fiction have been falsely equated, this thesis considers how the purpose of black history museums has evolved to respond to modern societal tensions. The conclusions from this thesis will contribute a full-length study of museum analyses to the field of African-American museum studies. While extensive research has been conducted regarding the background of black historical preservation, the African-American museum movement, and the origins of individual institutions, there have been no major examinations of the ways that these museums represent history, how these representations compare to those in other museums, and how black history museum narratives are impacted by geographic, political, and cultural frameworks. Moreover, this thesis will serve as one of the first large-scale engagements with the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Finally, this thesis demonstrates the importance of exploring the ways that African-American history is represented in a nonAmerican museum. This transatlantic focus extends the American-based scope that currently dominates the field, and the original perspectives gained from this inclusion may encourage further international engagement in future literature.
Supervisor: Verney, Kevern ; Ward, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: African-American museum studies ; black history museums ; museum narrative ; museum methods