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Spaces of Remembering and Forgetting: The Reverent Eye/I at the Plains Indian Museum

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Abstract:

Museums, memorials, and other historic places are key sites in the construction of collective memory and national identity. The Plains Indian Museum in Cody, Wyoming is one such space of memory where the (pre)history of “America” and its native peoples is told. Based on the view of texts as experiential landscapes, it is argued that this museum works to absolve Anglo-visitors of the social guilt regarding Western conquest through a rhetoric of reverence. This rhetorical mode invites visitors to adopt a respectful, but distanced observational gaze. A concluding section assesses the social and political consequences of memorializing in this mode.

Keywords: Collective Memory; Experiential Landscape; Interpretive Eye/I; Material Rhetoric; Plains Indian Museum; Reverence

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14791420500505619

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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