Rethinking 1807: museums, knowledge and expertise

Ross Wilson


Examining the museological shaping of the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade provides a means by which the role of museums in society can be reassessed. Through theories of governmentality this paper will study this relationship between institutions and the groups and communities they serve. The extent to which museums inculcate the dominant values of society into visitors and the way in which minority and dissenting voices are incorporated and ‘managed’ will be the particular focus of this paper. What will be argued is that museums as specific locales of knowledge and expertise operated in 2007 to perpetuate a particular ‘vision’ of the past, whilst dissenting histories did emerge, this ‘vision’ acted to obscure or assume alternative sources of information.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Ross Wilson

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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