Museums, Memory, and the Just Nation in Post-Civil War El Salvador

Robin DeLugan


In 1992 El Salvador ended a 12-year civil war infamous in part for the high level of state violence against innocent civilians. A United Nations Truth Commission report, which detailed these and other excesses, recommended that state and society commemorate the war and its violence to advance the establishment of a more just nation. The postwar government did construct an impressive new National Museum of Anthropology to actively promote national culture, history, and identity. However, this important museum remains silent about the civil war. In contrast, new public—though not official - museums and monuments are finally bringing attention to the civil war and past state violence. This paper explores the social memory work of non-official museums, arguing that by combating silence and forgetting, their truth-telling aims to shape ideas about the nation and improve state-society dynamics.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Robin DeLugan

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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