Conference article

Narrating a (New) Nation? Temporary exhibitions at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm; Sweden between 1990 and 2009

Johan Hegardt
National Historical Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

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Published in: Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 78:30, p. 489-504

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Published: 2012-10-30


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Heritage management and many cultural historical museums in Sweden have had problems adjusting to Sweden becoming a multicultural society in the late 20th century. This is so because such institutions have been and still are a part of the nation-state and its master narratives. However; in the years between 1990 and 2010 the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm; Sweden; tried to address this issue in parts of the museum’s temporal exhibitions.

Adjusting to Sweden being a multicultural society would mean that the narratives expressed by the museum should have changed from what I would like to call a ”nation-narration” to something that might be expressed as ”non-nation-narration”. The outcome of this study shows that the museum did for a short period shift focus in its temporal exhibitions from ”nationnarration” to other forms of narratives that did not focus on the Swedish nation-state and its history. This was done explicitly to adjust to the shift in the society from what was believed to be a homogenous society to a multicultural society in a global and postcolonial world. But this was a short period in the history of the museum. Today and under pressure in a commercialised and on adventures based society the museum has again turned to the historical master narratives of the Swedish nation-state.


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