The Louvre Narratives: Production of Identity at Public Art Museums
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Through public texts and layouts of the exhibitions, museums tell stories about the city they are located in, the nation they represent and the world. They have potential to create geographically-bound identities and shape narratives regarding power relationships among different cultures. The research is concerned with the phenomenon of identity creation at the Louvre, one of the world museums located in Paris, France. By coding a sample of public texts - artwork labels and audio guides available at the Louvre - and analyzing longer texts such as descriptions of the departments and museum highlights, I have tried to answer questions such as how do art museums encode different geographic identities? What messages do they project with regard to these identities? Where do these messages place their nations in modern global and historical context? Can museums be universal institutions that operate independently of political agenda? Analysis of the public texts at the Louvre shows that this world museum is far from encyclopedic or universal, as it has claimed to be, but rather perpetuates nationalist and imperialist messages. The implications of these findings are reviewed and discussed.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2017
- F&M Theses Collection