TECHNIQUES OF THE IMAGINATION IN THE TRIBUNE

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Jonathan Skinner University of Roehampton jonathan.skinner@roehampton.ac.uk

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This article examines heritage-making first-hand through the techniques of the imagination visiting Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham – the summer house and Gothic castle of Horace Walpole. Walpole developed Strawberry Hill as an architectural experiment in visitor emotions. In a now seemingly empty historic house, Walpole’s sleights of hand are being carefully and authentically conserved to fulfil the imaginations and expectations of the tourist as though a tour guide from beyond the grave. A detailed exploration of this staged encounter in the Tribune Room during a temporary exhibition highlights the workings of the tourist imaginary and the techniques and technologies of the visit – in particular the use of a 1774 guidebook as a resource for self-guided tourists – in conservation work, and the virtual development of the house as an award-winning heritage destination.

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