Winnetou Revisited

Five years ago, I blogged about Winnetou as a different kind of heritage [1]. Being fully aware of the terrible cultural appropriation and stereotypes of the books and the just plain awful representations of American Indians by white actors in black wigs of the 1960s films, I ended my blog post wondering whether I would … Continue reading Winnetou Revisited

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Lessons from a debate on the National Trust

On 11th November 2020, there was a short debate in the UK House of Commons on the future of the National Trust in England and Wales. It is worth analysing in particular the contributions of the debate’s initiator. They make for a textbook lesson on history vs. heritage, the power structures of hegemonies, and why … Continue reading Lessons from a debate on the National Trust

Professional or not? Thoughts on an example.

I recently heard a short description about an interpretive encounter that made me think again about the construction of heritage, the use of interpretation to represent that particular view of heritage, and the social structures that are expressed and recreated in doing so.   The anecdote concerned a guided tour with a school group [1]. … Continue reading Professional or not? Thoughts on an example.

The uses of audience research

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference on ‘Understanding Museums’ in Germany. It was about researching museums and researching audiences, with a particular focus on new and innovative methods [1]. In the final plenary session, the organiser for the museum research aspect of the conference expressed his hope that the focus on researching audiences … Continue reading The uses of audience research

The Scottish Referendum and the Reactivation of Heritage

A few years ago, I read Marta Anico’s essay on representing identities at local municipal museums [1]. In it, she discusses the heritage activation process [2]. Over recent months, while Scotland was in the grip of the referendum campaign, the concept came back to me. Not quite as Anico described it [3] but rather as … Continue reading The Scottish Referendum and the Reactivation of Heritage

Interpretation, facts, and a bit about respect

I spent last week at a thought-provoking seminar on interpreting megalithic sites.  Most of the other participants were archaeologists, charged with unearthing the facts that might tell us what sites are all about. I couldn’t help but be impressed by their attention to detail, and their commitment to objectivity and truth. The latter is of … Continue reading Interpretation, facts, and a bit about respect

Science and Heritage: An Uncomfortable mix…for some

Last week, UK’s Channel 4 aired a documentary about an archaeological dig in search of Richard III.  I found the show really illuminating.  Not because of its intended content – I actually thought the way they presented everything was neither here (archaeology) nor there (history). No, what I found fascinating was what the documentary revealed, … Continue reading Science and Heritage: An Uncomfortable mix…for some