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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Playing with history : settlement narratives in performance at three history museums of the Lower Mainland Clausen, Amy


This is a qualitative study of the settlement narratives that are performed at three Lower Mainland historic sites and museums. Employing costumed interpreters to animate and interpret staged historic environments and texts, museum sites are understood as performance spaces. Using this lens, combined with postmodern sensibilities of narrative and ethics, and a critical eye toward racist and colonial worldviews, I observe and analyze narratives of settlement at Fort Langley National Historic Site, Irving House Museum, and Burnaby Village Museum. With careful attention to the material signifiers of theatre, and the uses of staging environments, I also analyze how narratives at each site open or close themselves to contestation. I advance an argument that certain theatrical devices may hold narratives temporally, spatially, aesthetically captive in performative museum spaces. In resisting these captivating devices, performers and audiences alike can confront and contemplate narratives that complicate the status quo, and ultimately come closer to the expression of radical intellectual equality.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada