The Nation on Display. European History Museums - In spring 2009 Nicholas Sarkozy launched the project for creation of a comprehensive museum of French national history. The issue at stake was the representation of the nation through a powerful master narrative. This article deals with the lively debate generated by the French President’s proposal and points out the shortcomings of adhering to old 19th century master narratives in a deeply changed situation, marked as it is by immigration, multiethnicity, as well as by the new challenges of multiculturalism. The core of the article discusses the origins and role of European historical museums. Created in the age of nationalisms, and as professional historiography was emerging, historical museums have throughout Europe been powerful workshops for conserving historical materials, stimulating research, and producing and transmitting national master narratives to a large public. Their crucial role should be discussed and understood by historians as well as by citizens.
Keywords: Europa, Musei storici, Uso pubblico della storia, XIX secolo, XX secolo.