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Archaeology, heritage and identity: the creation and development of a national museum in Wales

Ward, Alexandra 2008. Archaeology, heritage and identity: the creation and development of a national museum in Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines selected issues, events, episodes and timeframes in the early life of the National Museum of Wales in order to analyse influential and defining aspects in its complex past. It provides a critical perspective on the cultural processes surrounding the foundation and development of the Museum, as well as the array of identities, archaeologies and representations produced. A further aim is to identify and deconstruct the trajectories of research and thought within the Museum's Archaeological department during the early 20th century. The thesis seeks to demonstrate the complexities of the museum experience and to highlight the nuances and subtleties within the national context. It provides a contextual view of the initial movement to establish a national museum and antiquities collection, and subsequently focuses mainly on critical aspects in the development, research and interpretive practices of the Archaeological department. While some awareness exists across the archaeological and museum spectrum that figures such as Sir R.E. Mortimer Wheeler and Sir Cyril Fox spent part of their archaeological careers at the National Museum of Wales, there has to date been no focused, critical analysis of their active roles in shaping, and contributing to, archaeological practice within the Museum itself and within the wider contexts of Welsh and British archaeology. Closer examination of the curatorial and personnel structures in the Museum raises important questions regarding research agendas, the ways in which the material culture collections were augmented, interpreted and displayed, and conflicting political ideologies. Additionally, it draws attention to the dynamics of curatorial practice and representation in a national institutional context. Studying the period of time between the initial move to establish a national museum in the 1890s and the development of a national archaeological collection in the 1920s/30s, reveals the shifts and transformations in cultural politics, institutional practices and museological philosophies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
ISBN: 9781303213472
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54744

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