Gallipoli As Edutainment? Constructing National Identity in a “new” Museum
Blackwell, Elizabeth Anne du Chateau
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This original research in this thesis is a close reading (Monin, 2004) of Gallipoli: the Scale of our War. The idea for the research was born from two over‑arching interests: museums as social institutions and in the changing face of Aoteaora‑New Zealand. These interests combine in the question that formed the spine of the research: "In what ways do the exigencies of a ‘new museum’ affect representation in Gallipoli: the Scale of our War, and connect to the ‘imagined reality’ of New Zealand national identity?” Monin’s (2004) ‘Scriptive reading’ was chosen as the method of analysis, as it enables a structured and replicable method by which to find the layered complexities of a text. Scriptive reading employs three different reading processes: the ‘dominant’, the ‘critical’ and the ‘reflexive’ (Monin, 2004). Although the method is systematic, it is not prescriptive: individual readers will arrive at their idiosyncratic conclusions, depending on the resources they bring to the reading (Monin, 2004). The scriptive reading suggests that the possibilities inherent in a centenary exhibition about the Gallipoli campaign were both liberated and constrained by the philosophy of the ‘new’ museum in operation, and further, that the view of national identity that was promulgated in the exhibition was essentially that of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s settler past, which was uncritically offered as a source of national pride. The conclusion was that the discourses of the ‘new’ museum have profoundly influenced what the exhibition was able to say about national identity.