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In an era of global instability and crises of national identity, the role of heritage tourism in creating images of national identity has become an important area for research. This article considers the role of heritage tourism in constructing national identity in the nation of Scotland through the lens of the Museum of Scotland. It describes the findings of qualitative research undertaken with potential and actual target consumers to the Museum of Scotland. Three research questions were addressed: Does the Museum of Scotland construct (1) a vision of a `new' Scotland? (2) a symbol of a `real' Scotland? (3) a collective identity of Scotland? The findings suggest that heritage visitors actively identify through their gaze, constructing multifarious meanings of national identity that are dynamic rather than static.
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Keywords: Consumption; Heritage tourism; Image; Museums; National identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *University of Stirling 2: †University of Hull

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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