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Media and socio-cultural communication, History
Tangible traces of conflict in visual artefacts can take viewers uncomfortably close to the realities of war—violence, destruction and fatalities. This article questions the evidential force of objects associated with conflict and their eventual display in exhibitions. Through a study of the display of a brick in which is embedded a bullet that is said to have passed through the body of Francis Sheehy Skeffington when he was executed by firing squad during the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, this article explores the historical configuration of the brick and analyses its public display in the National Museum of Ireland (NMI). By examining the actions carried out by the NMI in collecting and archiving the object and analysing the narrative strategies of its display, this article considers how the visual aspects of exhibition displays can perpetuate a particular version of historic events and accredits objects with assumed authenticity.
Siobhán Doyle (2019) The Bullet in the Brick: The Materiality of Conflict in Museum Objects, Arms & Armour, 16:1, 105-116, DOI: 10.1080/17416124.2019.1581488