Nation Building at the Museum of Welsh Life

Rhiannon Mason


This article explores the representational problems inherent in one museum’s attempt to tell a ‘national story’. The museum in question started life as the ‘Welsh Folk Museum’ but in 1995 became the much broader ‘Museum of Welsh Life’. This article examines how and why this change occurred and the challenges produced by this shift in remit. The article also illustrates the processes of selection and revision which occur within museum representations and considers how these relate to competing versions of ‘the national story’ present within Wales. I argue that such revisions are inevitable in national museums which, by their very nature, aim to tell a universal story and that, as a consequence, these museums function both as a catalyst for discussion and a public forum within which debates over the accepted nature of national identity and history will occur.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Rhiannon Mason

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360