Authors: Mark Rhodes*, Kent State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Europe, Historical Geography
Keywords: Wales, Labor, Heritage, Memory, Museums, Landscape, National Identity
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Virginia C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales. Currently, the only museum in the northern half of the country is the National Slate Museum. However, this museum only manifested in its present form after Amgueddfa’r Gogledd – The Museum of the North – was sold. As the only national museum in the north, the prominence of slate to the national narrative of Wales only intensifies. Locked into this narrative are the discourses at work from Penrhyn Castle and Penrhyn Quarry, which made their fortunes both on the backs of slaves working in the Jamaican sugar industry and the quarriers at the forefront of the British Labour Movement. The strike of 1900-1903 remains the longest industrial walkout in British history. This paper explores these interconnected national landscapes of slate and industrial history in Wales. How do visitors to the National Slate Museum engage with these narratives and how do staff navigate them? How has performance in the museum and in the local community engaged with these narratives and landscapes of violence? Overall, I demonstrate how a combination of archival, interview, performative, and discourse analysis reveals a national memorial landscape which subtlety engages with these trans-national labor geographies.