History Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002






The Public Historian

First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier

doi: 10.1525/tph.2002.24.2.41


This paper traces the development and distribution of museums and public monuments in one province of China during the twentieth century, with special emphasis on the cultural policies of the post–Mao reform era. By considering the museum and monument (i.e., artifacts, historically significant geographic features, and the physical representation of historical experience) as among the most tangible aspects of historical capital, it is demonstrated how region, province, and nation are involved with public and private interests in an ongoing dialogue over what types of history are to be represented, and in what context. This evidence suggests that while the state may impose its own historical interpretation in key areas, most public history is sponsored and managed by provincial, regional, and even commercial interests which represent the immediate interest first, leaving the connection with the nation to develop on its own tenuous ground. Regional historical representation, therefore, demonstrated that "national history" is not the sum of its parts, and that the "making" of public history occurs at multiple levels of bureaucracy, and through many levels of patronage.


Published as Flath, James A. (2002). Managing Historical Capital in Shandong: Museum, Monument, and Memory in Provincial China. The Public Historian, 24(2) 41-59. © 2002 by University of California Press on behalf of the National Council on Public History. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by University of California Press on behalf of the National Council on Public History for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.

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