The National Museum of Scotland: a symbol for a new Scotland?

Fiona McLean, Steven Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The National Museum of Scotland (forthwith 'Museum') opened to critical acclaim on St Andrew's Day 1998 (see McKean 2000). The timing of the opening was culturally and politically symbolic, taking place on the patron saint of Scotland's day, whilst falling between the devolution referendum for, and the opening of, the reinstated Scottish Parliament. The museum offers a representation of Scotland, one which is negotiated by its creators and visitors alike. Given that national identity is a slippery concept subject to fluidity and change (Hall 1992), the image of stability and authority of a museum, which has been compared to the reification of a church (Horne 1984), offers us an interesting site for developing our understanding of how national identity is constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-127
Number of pages17
JournalScottish Affairs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • National Museum of Scotland
  • national identity


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