The Dynamics of Heritage: History, Memory and the Highland Clearances (BOK)
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Focusing on the interaction between history and memory and, in particular, on museums as a memory medium, this book deals with the memorialisation of the Highland Clearances over the twentieth century. While there is been much academic interest recently in the role of museums as places where understanding and interpretations of the past are shaped for a wide public, has, no attention has been paid yet on this aspect of the representation of the Clearances - a highly controversial and politically-charged topic in Scottish history. Approaching this subject from the perspective of social history, this book looks at the structures, groups and individuals involved in the representation of the period for public consumption in Scotland. Beyond the Museum of Scotland and the National Museum of Rural Life, a range of 13 local museums are compared and contrasted in detail over the past decade. The length of the empirical study on which this book is based enables a diachronic perspective and allows for the inclusion of exhibitions that have been refurbished or no longer exist, revealing changing contexts and circumstances - museological, economic and political. The book puts forward a typology of Clearance narratives and shows that, on the one hand, nationally, the politics of the land has impacted on interpretive repertoires, and, on the other, Clearance exhibitions increasingly focus on a transnational perspective foregrounding Highlanders and Islanders abroad. The conclusion builds and expands on this aspect with comparisons drawn with international migration museums, particularly in Australia.