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52-2 | 2005
Museums, collections, interpretations

Rethinking the construction of meanings and identities

Generally speaking, museums can be defined as places where collections of a specific importance and particular interest are exposed with an educational intention to a wider public. Many museums simultaneously represent their country’s self-understanding as a nation, displaying a particular identity through the collections linked to their national context and history. The way that national history is exposed to visitors is a conscious reconstruction of the image a country wants to be associated with, both by their own citizens as well as by foreign visitors. This special issue of Civilisations rethinks museums as an essential and pro-active link between past and present. The articles analyse the political role of museums and the constitution of their collections today in terms of identity display, identity maintenance and identity reconstruction, as well as remodelling interpretation methods of exposed objects.

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