As public (state-dependent) institutions, history museums in Mexico are viewed as embodiments of official history, unable to present history as contested and constructed. This article offers a detailed explanation of how and to what extent official history operates in the construction of historical narratives and visitors’ experiences of two history museums in Mexico City. Results showed specific omission strategies, divergences, and inconsistencies in the historical discourse, as well as peoples’ autonomous and creative meaning-making of the past, both of which provide strong evidence to advocate for an understanding of official history not as one, but as several competing narratives produced at different times by institutions and professionals affiliated (either directly or indirectly) with the state.
Rethinking Official History through Museum and Visitor Research: Findings from Two Mexican Museums
Cintia Velázquez Marroni holds a doctorate in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester, UK. She is currently full-time lecturer and researcher at the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography in the National Institute of Anthropology and History (ENCRYM-INAH) in Mexico. As a museum practitioner, she has performed as curatorial and exhibition design assistant, head of education and community outreach, and contents and interpretation manager. She has been awarded twice INAH’s Miguel Covarrubias National Prize for best museum research. She is interested in history in and of the museum, collections interpretation and curatorship, and more recently, organizational change and contemporary issues.
I am grateful to Laurence Brasseur and Simon Buck for their insightful comments and suggestions on an early draft of this article.
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Cintia Velázquez Marroni; Rethinking Official History through Museum and Visitor Research: Findings from Two Mexican Museums. The Public Historian 1 August 2021; 43 (3): 7–41. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2021.43.3.7
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