Official, artificial or (arte)factual?: The Museu d'Histria de Catalunya

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The Museum of the History of Catalonia (MHC), opened in 1996, houses a permanent exhibition that takes the visitor through the story of Catalonia from pre-history to 1980, as well as temporary exhibitions. It was conceived as a political project with a clear nation-building function, devised by the ruling centre-right Catalanist coalition Convergncia i Uni as a way of teaching Catalans a different version of their history from the one that had come to them from the Spanish state, especially under the Franco regime. The article analyses the structure and content of the Museum's permanent exhibition, as well as some of the debates that have surrounded it, in the light of work by Tony Bennett and others on the evolution of the role of museums in state- and nation-building since the nineteenth century. The analysis shows how the nationalist ideology of CiU shaped the design and functions of the MHC in the period up to 2003.

Keywords: Catalan nationalism; Catalonia; Convergncia i Uni; Museum of the History of Catalonia; national identity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sydney.

Publication date: November 14, 2006

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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