New Nation; New History

Jennifer Carter
School of Architecture, McGill University, Canada

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Ingår i: NaMu; Making National Museums Program; Setting the Frames; 26-28 February; Norrköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 22:15, s. 165–181

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Publicerad: 2007-09-19


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


In answer to one of this conference’s foundational questions; “How has the con­cept of the national museum been understood and defined by different actors in the past?”; this paper proposes a case study of the design and creation of the Musée des Monuments français (1795-1816) by its founding curator; Alexandre Lenoir; in late eighteenth-century France. As France’s original national museum of sculpture; architecture; and monuments; the Musée des Monuments français emerged in the wake of the French Revolution – indeed as a direct consequence of this revolution – just as the nation’s first national public museums were taking shape.

The paper considers the Musée des Monuments français as one individual’s endeavour to explore the new aims of history and its uses in the expanded social and public spheres of France’s post-Ancien regime; and positions the Musée as an example of a specific museological genre – the narrative history museum. As a hermeneutic study of this genre; the terms of engagement range from parallel readings on the subjects of historiography; pedagogy; and cultural reform; in ad­dition to landscape and architectural theory; to demonstrate how a changed sense of history and theories of sense perception informed museum scenography at a pivotal moment in its development.


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