National museums and national identities: new book from international collaboration

Posted by mjs76 at Oct 25, 2010 10:19 AM |
How British is the British Museum? Or indeed, how much does any national museum reflect national identity? It’s one of those questions so basic and obvious that it is rarely asked. Until now.

Eunamus is a three-year, EU-funded, international research project looking at national museums and the way that they represent national identities. Our School of Museum Studies is one of the project partners, along with university departments in France, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Estonia and elsewhere.

After a series of international conferences in its first year, the initial output of the Eunamus project is a book called National Museums: New Studies from Around the World which will be published by Routledge next week. The book is co-edited by our own Simon Knell, Professor of Museum Studies, and also includes contributions from Leicester research students Alan Kirwan and Amy Jane Barnes.

The publisher’s blurb says:

National Museums is the first book to explore the national museum as a cultural institution in a range of contrasting national contexts. Composed of new studies of countries that rarely make a showing in the English-language studies of museums, this book reveals how these national museums have been used to create a sense of national self, place the nation in the arts, deal with the consequences of political change, remake difficult pasts, and confront those issues of nationalism, ethnicity and multiculturalism which have come to the fore in national politics in recent decades.
National Museums combines research from both leading and new researchers in the fields of history, museum studies, cultural studies, sociology, history of art, media studies, science and technology studies, and anthropology. It is an interrogation of the origins, purpose, organisation, politics, narratives and philosophies of national museums.

This hefty, 504-page softback volume will be published on 5 November 2010 with a cover price of £25.99.

The Attic, the always-interesting blog that is "the virtual home of the School of Museum Studies' research students", has a report on a ‘brown bag seminar’ from last week in which research associate Dr Andrew Sawyer outlined the Eunamus project and Leicester’s involvement therein.