Contested authenticities and the imagined past: museums, archives and ancestral tourists in Scotland

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Scotland and the provision of interpretation by museum curators, archivists and related practitioners to visitors from the Scottish Diaspora in, largely, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. A wide-ranging qualitative data-capture at museums, archives and heritage sites across Scotland indicates that many of these visitors quest for 'authenticity' in the Scottish 'homeland' actually involves the negotiation of two 'authenticities': the lived experiences of being a hyphenated diasporic Scot 'abroad' and that of professionals living in Scotland charged with explaining the 'reality' of that homeland. Our analysis indicates that practitioners are not necessarily engaged simply in the empirical refutation of ancestral tourists' 'imagined pasts' but with understanding their discursive habitation of authentically felt versions of place that are immune to standard notions of object-based or existential authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2015
EventEighth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum - New Delhi, India
Duration: 7 Aug 20159 Oct 2015


ConferenceEighth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum
CityNew Delhi


  • ancestral tourists
  • tourism industry
  • Scottish Diaspora

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