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Open Access Constructing patriotism: How Canada's History Hall has evolved over 50 years

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This title is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY Version 4.0 license
In this article, I illustrate how the national narrative in Canada's Museum of History has evolved over 50 years. Located in the national capital of Ottawa, the new Canada's History Hall presents a concise overview of a nation, stretching from time immemorial to the present. It was opened on 1 July 2017 as a signature exhibition in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial. It also represents a fourth manifestation of a national museum narrative for Canada. From humble beginnings in 1967 (when Canada celebrated its centennial), the narrative has changed substantially in response to national policies and societal values. Adopting a critical discourse analysis methodology, and drawing from archival evidence, I analyse how this national narrative has evolved. Canada's History Hall presents Canadian students with a concise national template for remembering Canada's past. Over the past 50 years, this narrative has changed, as curators have employed artefacts and museum environments to construct patriotic pride in their nation. Until 2017, this narrative was blatantly exclusionary of Indigenous voices. More recently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called for reconciliation in education, including public forums for education. The Canadian Museum of History has responded to this call by weaving Indigenous voices into the national narrative of the new Canadian History Hall. In so doing, I argue, the museum has successfully entwined patriotism with reconciliation against past wrongs.
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Keywords: CANADA; CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY; INDIGENOUS HISTORY; MUSEUMS; NATIONAL NARRATIVES; PATRIOTISM; TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION OF CANADA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 26 October 2018

More about this publication?
  • The History Education Research Journal (HERJ) is an international, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the global significance and impact of history education. It covers all aspects of history education theory, scholarship, and pure and applied research. Articles illuminate contemporary issues, concerns, policies and practice, drawing upon the eclectic research methodologies of history education. The journal is published in partnership with the Historical Association.

    HERJ is a relaunch of the International Journal of Historical Learning Teaching and Research. All past issues up to and including vol. 15, no. 1 were published under this title. HERJ vol. 15, no. 2 is the first to be published by UCL IOE Press.
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