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Exhibiting War
The Great War, Museums, and Memory in Britain, Canada, and Australia


Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316501023

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About the Authors
  • What does it mean to display war? Examining a range of different exhibitions in Britain, Canada and Australia, Jennifer Wellington reveals complex imperial dynamics in the ways these countries developed diverging understandings of the First World War, despite their cultural, political and institutional similarities. While in Britain a popular narrative developed of the conflict as a tragic rupture with the past, Australia and Canada came to see it as engendering national birth through violence. Narratives of the war's meaning were deliberately constructed by individuals and groups pursuing specific agendas: to win the war and immortalise it at the same time. Drawing on a range of documentary and visual material, this book analyses how narratives of mass violence changed over time. Emphasising the contingent development of national and imperial war museums, it illuminates the way they acted as spaces in which official, academic and popular representations of this violent past intersect.

    • Explores the process of creating historical narratives and forming popular memories from the aftermath of the First World War to the recent centenary
    • Considers three related national cases to offer a new perspective on how war memory is constructed
    • Proposes a new view of how individuals and states create popular understandings of mass violence which will enable readers to critically engage with the politics of war and violence
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Exhibiting War is an exhaustively researched and highly persuasive work. It synthesises a vast field of scholarship and successfully examines a formidable body of archives located in three different countries. The prose is engaging, the analysis sharp and … its content fresh and original.' Bruce Scates, Australian Historical Studies

    'Packed with valuable insights and analyses, Wellington's study provides a lively, engaging and persuasive addition to the literature on the way the First World War was experienced, interpreted and understood.' Mark Connelly, The English Historical Review

    'As a richly contextualised account of the origins of three major war museums of the British and Dominion experience, Exhibiting War captures the continuities and deeper cultural currents that animated the more familiar institutional story in each case.' Geoffrey A.C. Ginn, Australian Journal of Politics and History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316501023
    • length: 365 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 50 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. In search of the 'authentic' experience of war, 1914–17
    Part II:
    2. Exhibiting for victory: travelling war photography displays, 1917–20
    3. Art exhibitions: a higher truth in aid of victory and for posterity
    4. Taming the monsters of war: exhibiting weapons and war trophies 1917–20
    Part III:
    5. Consolidations: creating national museums and narratives of war, 1920–35
    6. Museums, monuments, and memory: exhibiting war as part of national and imperial commemorative projects since 1925.

  • Author

    Jennifer Wellington, University College Dublin
    Jennifer Wellington is Lecturer in Modern History at University College Dublin. She received honours degrees in Law and English from the Australian National University. Following this, she completed her Ph.D. in history at Yale University, Connecticut, where her thesis was awarded the Hans Gatzke Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in a Field of European History. She regularly gives public lectures in museums, libraries, and schools, and appears as a panellist at public events as well as on radio and television.

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