Problems of Inclusiveness: Knowledge Frames of Nuclear Museums in the United States

By Conny Bogaard.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 2, 2015 $US5.00

This paper argues for a rethinking of inclusiveness, especially in light of the Cold War nuclear rhetoric and its historical representation in Cold War nuclear museums in the United States. Drawing from the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin and exemplified by three Cold War related museums, the author shows the transition from a monological to dialogical narrative, which is supported by the recent shift towards a more inclusive interpretation of Cold War history. Yet, how inclusive can a museum be when dealing with a history that is still veiled by secrecy and national security issues? This question lies at the heart of the much contested Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act that seeks to improve public understanding of Cold War history through the creation of three nuclear heritage sites. The author argues that inclusiveness can only receive its full potential when it is thought of in connection with dialogue between the self and other. Instead of looking for a consensus-based solution between various stakeholder groups, the interpretation at Cold War nuclear sites is better served when controversy is accepted as the natural outcome of differences. Museums can play an important role in furthering dialogue, not by erasing differences but by embracing the polyphony as a new form of truth.

Keywords: Nuclear Rhetoric, Controversy, Dialogue

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.25-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 2, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 488.577KB)).

Dr. Conny Bogaard

Executive Director, Rocky Flats Cold War Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA


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