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Nation and National Museums, a Contested Relationship: An Analysis of U.S. National Museums in the Twenty-first Century


  • Beatrice Drengwitz,

  • Benjamin Elbers,

  • Lisa Debora Jahn,

  • Irmela Wrogemann


The motivation for this article arose from the wish to share our outside perspectives on how national museums in the U.S. mediate ideas of national identity. We are four students out of a larger group of 15 German students in Cultural Studies at Leuphana University of Lueneburg. We conducted empirical research on various national museums within the Smithsonian Institution and also on the soon-to-be-opened National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. The objective of our research was to explore the role that American national museums play in a globalized world by investigating how such museums address changing national identities over time.