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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Crang, M. Living history magic kingdoms or a quixotic quest for authenticity? Annals of tourism research. 1996;23:415-431.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper attempts to look at the practices of interpretation involved in heritage tourism. Instead of focusing on artefacts as images of the past, it investigates the interpretive and communicative work needed to make sense of built heritage. The examples used are a Tudor manor house in the southeast of England, where each year a living history event is staged, and a reenactment society that portrays the events of the British Civil War at historic properties. Participant observation provided the method to examine the activities of interpretation education and the production of a sense of realism and ''authenticity''. The paper argues that heritage is a much more self-reflexive activity than commonly portrayed.


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Department of Geography