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Once more, with feeling : an enquiry into The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's exhibition, Gallipoli: the scale of our war : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in Museum Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. EMBARGOED until 12 August 2018
This thesis examines The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s exhibition Gallipoli: The scale of our war. Conceived in partnership with Weta Workshop and formulated during a period of institutional uncertainty, Gallipoli was ostensibly created to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. This research investigates what this exhibition and the methodologies and practices deployed in its development reveals about how Te Papa interprets its public service role, and concludes that Gallipoli signals an intensification of its hegemonic function.
Marked by a discursive engagement with critical museology and theoretical perspectives pertaining to the ethics of memorialisation and practices of governmentality, in this thesis a transdisciplinary approach is adopted. Employing a qualitative and grounded theory methodology and inductive processes, anchoring the research are interviews with Te Papa staff and Gallipoli visitors, documentary evidence, exhibition ‘text’ analysis and autoethnographic reflections.
This thesis suggests that Gallipoli is characterised by a distinctive ‘affective public pedagogy’. Further to this, it is argued that Gallipoli not only has significant implications for Te Papa’s pedagogical functions, but also for conceptions of subjectivity, citizenship and nationhood in New Zealand in the twenty-first century. It is contended that recent developments at Te Papa have further problematized its exogenous and endogenous relations of power, and that the ritualised practices of affect afforded by Gallipoli are ideologically prescribed. It is also determined that Te Papa’s legislative responsibility to be a ‘forum for the nation’ requires reconsidering.