Museums as contested sites of remembrance

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


  • Discusses various elements involved in the controversy surrounding the exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum of the Enola Gay, the airplane that dropped the first atomic bomb. The author views the situation to have arisen when competing interests vied to influence how facts involved with the dropping of the bomb should be presented in the exhibition, and devotes a section of the chapter to consider versions of the facts argued by each of the four main factions involved: museum curators, American veteran organizations, the Japanese government, and the U. S. government. Arguments put forth by each of these groups are discussed in terms of how they influenced the exhibition and caused it to be changed from the original concept.
  • The author writes that museums are places which represent history, and are therefore sites of remembrance that influence thinking about the past; however, the author contends that museums have not been fulfilling their traditional roles, as they have sadly become increasingly politicized and money-conscious.


  • Heyman, Ira Michael 5/30/1930-11/19/2011
  • United States Congress
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Enola Gay (Bomber)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


The book is copyrighted by The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review. Twenty-one "Notes" appear at the end of the chapter.

Contained within

Theorizing Museums: Representing identity and diversity in a changing world (Book)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Airplanes
  • Atomic bomb
  • Education
  • Controversies
  • Secretaries
  • Exhibitions
  • Museums
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Museums--Educational aspects


United States

Physical description

pgs. 69-82

Full Record

View Full Record