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The Battle of the Sites: A National Museum for Wales

By Bruce Argyll Campbell


This study has examined the progress towards a national museum for Wales; the perception of museums in the civic and national context; and the changes in this perception under the influence of alternative cultural and political agendas. To understand the perception of museums in the contending towns, the history of the relevant societies and their museums and their place in the civic environment, has been examined. With a greater certainty of a grant for a national museum in the early years of the twentieth century, the place of the museum in the civic and national arena took on a new role. This change in the status of the museum has been studied in the context of a growing sense of Welsh nationalism along with the differing political activities in the contending towns. The decision concerning the location of the national museum lay with the central government in London. The activities of this political operation has been examined as has the reaction to the decision in Wales. The purpose of this historiography has been to evidence the use of these museums - in particular, the proposed national museum for Wales - as instruments by people and organisations in the achieving of their various aims. To those with civic ambition the possession of the national museum would he symbolic of the capital of the Principality. Possession of the national museum, therefore, would bring commensurate status and power. To the civic leaders of Cardiff, the museum was an instrument in their drive for civic hegemony

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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