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Defining National Identity With Heritage: The National Legacy Project

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Chapter Summary

The Legacy Project comprises a selection of nine high-priority heritage developments. This chapter retraces the genesis of the National Legacy Project based on archival records and illustrates how the popular requests for memorialisation were carefully condensed and channeled into a few high-profile projects. It considers how these projects were selected, what their symbolic significance was perceived to be and how they reflect cornerstones of a newly defined foundation myth. The chapter argues that the assembly of a panel of academics tasked with critical discussion was largely a token gesture and that a very different memorial landscape could have emerged, had their recommendations been considered seriously. The Legacy Project is not necessarily a reflection of what 'people' value about the past and how they would like to see their heroes memorialised, but a highly institutionalised form of commemoration sponsored and directed by national government in pursuit of specific aims and intentions.

Keywords: academics; archival records; government; heritage; memorialisation; national identity; National Legacy Project



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