Exhibition and Ideology: The Perpetuation of the Rural Ideal at the Wellington County Museum and Archives

Graham, Robyn
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an analysis of the rural ideal as it resonates through exhibition at local county museums in southern Ontario. This study brings attention to the potential for museums to perpetuate the rural ideal through the manner in which they frame artifacts and create historical displays. Through a combination of a through historiography which features public history, museums, and rural history, this thesis argues that museums work in a similar manner as text or images to identify with an ideology. Utilizing the Wellington County Museum and Archives as a case study, exhibits of the institution are deconstructed to demonstrate their association with the ideal and the potential influence this may possess on audiences.

Wellington County, Museums, southern Ontario, rural history, rural ideal, public history