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Museums, in their unique location as mediators of knowledge between the academy and the public, now find themselves as the locus of discourse concerning education vs. entertainment. Further, the economic success of a multibillion dollar "heritage industry" has helped to make history, or the right to interpret the landscape of the past, a highly contested space. One may ask, then, in Michael Stratton's words (1996:156) "do [open air museums] represent the worst aspects of 'edutainment', ' fakelore' and the blurring of boundaries between historical credibility and the appeal to public nostalgia?". This article, as a contribution to growing reflexivity in the museum realm, explores this question along with others as to the the "commodification" of history and the functions of museums by looking at interpretation in open air museums within the context of their necessity to rethink roles in a rapidly changing, increasingly global economy.

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