« Back to all events

National museums and mobilization of history in Ireland and Northern Ireland: Commemorative exhibitions of Anglo-Irish conflicts (1921-2006)

Dates:
  • Fri 14 Sep 2012 15.00 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2012-09-14 15:00 2012-09-14 19:00 Europe/Paris National museums and mobilization of history in Ireland and Northern Ireland: Commemorative exhibitions of Anglo-Irish conflicts (1921-2006)

Through the study of commemorative exhibitions arranged at the National Museum of Ireland(Ireland) and at the Ulster Museum (Northern Ireland), this thesis compares the changing representations of three historical conflicts (the 1690 Battle of the Boyne, the 1798 Rebellion,and the 1916 Easter Rising). Beginning with Partition and ending with new permanent military exhibitions in the twenty-first century, the research explores the ways in which the changing representations of these conflicts staged by the two museums have correlated with broader processes of mobilization of history designed to fit the needs of the present. In doing so, the complex relationships between museums and national identity are explored in the two parts of the island. The dissertation reveals how, at first, the two national museums participated in the construction of opposed official narratives, based on Nationalist and Unionist interpretations of the past in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It demonstrates how these initial interpretations of the three conflicts were gradually reassessed in response to changes in Anglo-Irish relations, especially in connection with the Northern Irish conflict and the politics of reconciliation. But the dissertation also explores how the new remit attributed to the two national museums has been shaped by the demands of cultural tourism, marketing
strategy, and the new links with audiences, in a way that has served to detach the
representations of the three conflicts from the political relations between the island of Ireland
and Britain in the narrow sense. The dissertation explores the role of state actors, but is
equally concerned with role played by curators, historians, educationalists, community
relations personnel, tourism promoters, and audiences in advancing a more ‘bottom up’ view
of the relationships between past and present. It ends by showing how the limited
rapprochement of historical narratives that has taken place in recent decades results, in part,
from the increasing need of the museums to attend to their audiences (international tourists in Dublin, community groups in Belfast), as well as from wider shifts in the relations between
the governments in Belfast, Dublin and London.

Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Through the study of commemorative exhibitions arranged at the National Museum of Ireland(Ireland) and at the Ulster Museum (Northern Ireland), this thesis compares the changing representations of three historical conflicts (the 1690 Battle of the Boyne, the 1798 Rebellion,and the 1916 Easter Rising). Beginning with Partition and ending with new permanent military exhibitions in the twenty-first century, the research explores the ways in which the changing representations of these conflicts staged by the two museums have correlated with broader processes of mobilization of history designed to fit the needs of the present. In doing so, the complex relationships between museums and national identity are explored in the two parts of the island. The dissertation reveals how, at first, the two national museums participated in the construction of opposed official narratives, based on Nationalist and Unionist interpretations of the past in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It demonstrates how these initial interpretations of the three conflicts were gradually reassessed in response to changes in Anglo-Irish relations, especially in connection with the Northern Irish conflict and the politics of reconciliation. But the dissertation also explores how the new remit attributed to the two national museums has been shaped by the demands of cultural tourism, marketing
strategy, and the new links with audiences, in a way that has served to detach the
representations of the three conflicts from the political relations between the island of Ireland
and Britain in the narrow sense. The dissertation explores the role of state actors, but is
equally concerned with role played by curators, historians, educationalists, community
relations personnel, tourism promoters, and audiences in advancing a more ‘bottom up’ view
of the relationships between past and present. It ends by showing how the limited
rapprochement of historical narratives that has taken place in recent decades results, in part,
from the increasing need of the museums to attend to their audiences (international tourists in Dublin, community groups in Belfast), as well as from wider shifts in the relations between
the governments in Belfast, Dublin and London.


Location:
Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Contact:
Kathy Wolf Fabiani - Send a mail

Examiner:
Prof. Mary Daly (University College Dublin)
Professor Simon Knell (University of Leicester)
Laura Downs (EUI)

Defendant:
Thomas Cauvin

Supervisor:
Prof. Stephen Anthony Smith
 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017