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Holocaust Memory and National Museums in Britain


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This book explores the Holocaust exhibition opened within the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in 2000; setting out the long and often contentious debates surrounding the conception, design, and finally the opening of an important exhibition within a national museum in Britain. It considers a process of memory-making through an assessment of Holocaust photographs, material culture, and survivor testimonies; exploring theories of cultural memory as they apply to the national museum context. Anchored in time and place, the Holocaust exhibition within Britain's national museum of war is influenced by, and reflects, an international rise in Holocaust consciousness in the 1990s. This book considers the construction of Holocaust memory in 1990s Britain, providing a foundation for understanding current and future national memory projects. Through all aspects of the display, the Holocaust is presented as meaningful in terms of what it says about Nazism and what this, in turn, says about Britishness. From the original debates surrounding the inclusion of a Holocaust gallery at the IWM, to the acquisition of Holocaust artefacts that could act as 'concrete evidence' of Nazi barbarity and criminality, the Holocaust reaffirms an image of Britain that avoids critical self-reflection despite raising uncomfortably close questions. The various display elements are brought together to consider multiple strands of the Holocaust story as it is told by national museums in Britain



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Link to book (paywalled), Holocaust Memory and National Museums in Britain

Bibliographic Information

Stiles, Emily-Jayne Holocaust Memory and National Museums in Britain. Palgrave Macmillan. 2022:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1007/978-3-030-89355-2