TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (2): 267-277.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003120

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Activation and Inheritance of Urban Memory and Cultural Performance in Museums: An Analysis of Tourist Comments on a Museum in Guangzhou

Wen Tong and Liu Lu   

  1. (School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China)
  • Online:2019-03-05 Published:2019-03-05


As a space to record urban culture and history, museum is an important place to inherit urban memory. From the perspective of “cultural performance”, this article conducted a text analysis of tourist comments concerning the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. A total of 1 294 tourist comments (207 offline comments and 1 087 online comments) were considered, and the four dimensions were found to constitute the factor system of cultural performance in museum, including architectural sites, cultural heritage, interpretation system, and tourist participation. In particular, initially, as a space of urban memory, the dimension of “architectural sites” is just like a stage for performance, which not only satisfies tourists' imagination of urban history and culture, but also awakens their perception of historical memory. Secondly, the dimension of “cultural heritage” confirms the unique cultural connotation and historical background in Guangzhou through the way of physical display, which helps tourists enhance their sense of cultural identity and strengthen their urban memory. Thirdly, the dimension of “interpretation system”, including professional commentators and multimedia technology, is just like the actors in performance, presenting the history and culture of the city in a dynamic way, and helping tourists understand the deep meaning of history and culture. Lastly, the dimension of “tourist participation” is the most important role in the process of urban memory. Tourists take the initiative to participate in activities and realize the transformation from “passive participation” to “active participation”, fulfilling the understanding of urban memory. Furthermore, this article emphasizes the important role of the perception of memory subject and the authenticity of culture in the process of urban memory. On the one hand, the form of memory is an interactive process, so that it is necessary to realize the understanding of cultural connotation through communication between memory subject and object. In this case, the content coding about the tourists’ perception accounts for about 51.08%, therefore, the behavior of memory subject determines the effect of cultural performance in museum. On the other hand, 41.4% of the content coding comes from real carriers, such as architectural sites and cultural heritage, which indicates that only by maintaining the original and integrity of traditional culture can tourists achieve the construction of urban memory. In a word, these four dimensions form an urban memory chain for museum and respectively play the roles of awakening, strengthening, activating and inheriting in the process of urban memory construction. In addition, both the behavior of memory subject and the cultural authenticity play indispensable roles in the construction of urban memory.

Key words: urban memory, culture performance, memory activation, memory heritance, museum