Contested authenticities and the imagined past : museums, archives and ancestral tourists in Scotland

Bryce, Derek and Murdy, Samantha and Alexander, Matthew (2015) Contested authenticities and the imagined past : museums, archives and ancestral tourists in Scotland. In: Eighth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, 2015-08-07 - 2015-10-09.

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Abstract

Scotland and the provision of interpretation by museum curators, archivists and related practitioners to visitors from the Scottish Diaspora in, largely, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. A wide-ranging qualitative data-capture at museums, archives and heritage sites across Scotland indicates that many of these visitors quest for 'authenticity' in the Scottish 'homeland' actually involves the negotiation of two 'authenticities': the lived experiences of being a hyphenated diasporic Scot 'abroad' and that of professionals living in Scotland charged with explaining the 'reality' of that homeland. Our analysis indicates that practitioners are not necessarily engaged simply in the empirical refutation of ancestral tourists' 'imagined pasts' but with understanding their discursive habitation of authentically felt versions of place that are immune to standard notions of object-based or existential authenticity.