Moving the Nation: Taking the Smithsonian to Scotland


  • Alima Bucciantini

    1. Appalachian State University
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    • Dr Alima Bucciantini is Visiting Assistant Professor of Public History at Appalachian State University. Her interests include material culture, the role of national museums in building and sustaining national identity, and the creation of object-based narratives.


Temporary exhibitions in national museums provide a window into the ways in which national identity is performed. When one national museum is presented in the space of another nation, the changes of narrative and performance are even more vivid. Looking at a 1984 exhibition of American artefacts in Scotland, Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution at the Royal Scottish Museum, this article examines how material culture can hold ever-changing narratives of nation and identity, and how they alter to suit new contexts and spaces.