Museums of the modern world act to preserve and promote cultural heritage, science, and art. Within the continent of Asia, museums have been crucial foci for various nations’ cultural ministries. By analyzing the missions of specific museums with a critical lens, the objective of national identity and narrative building becomes exposed in the decisions of museums’ exhibits and curations. With having used ethnographic methods and scholarly research concerning national museums in the countries of Mongolia, Japan, China, Thailand, and India, I argue that museums serve as mediums of communication for higher political and cultural institutions to foster, construct, and manipulate national narratives consumed by the general public in order to homogenize ideal identities on the local and global scale. The extent to which museums execute these tasks vary greatly depending on the variables of targeted audiences, sources of funding, and the presentation and interpretation of historical events and archaeological artifacts.
University of Puget Sound
Tacoma, Washington, United States; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Tokyo, Japan; Beijing, China; Fuzhou, China; Shanghai, China; Nanjing, China; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Delhi, India; Mumbai, India
Nelson, Lee, "Curating a Nation: The Role of Asia’s Twenty-First Century Museums in Constructing National Narratives" (2018). Pac Rim Posters. 4.