Museums, Nation and Political History in the Australian National Museum and the Canadian Museum of Civilization

David Dean, Peter E Rider


The role museums play in shaping the public’s understanding of the past has recently become a matter of considerable interest for historians and others. In Canada and Australia, portraits of their country’s history created by national museums have ignited considerable controversy. The Canadian Museum of Civlization’s Canada Hall was the subject of a review by four historians, chosen to examine the Hall’s portrayal of political history, while the National Museum of Australia faced a highly politicised public review of all of its exhibits soon after the museum opened. By analysing and interpreting the findings of these reviews, the authors raise questions about the ability of museums to respond to historical controversy, shifting historiographies and changing understandings of what is important in the past.

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Copyright (c) 2015 David Dean, Peter E Rider

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360