The Cold War was about dreams and nightmares: dreams for a better world and a better way of life, and nightmares of catastrophic destruction. It was a global conflict that began in the wake of the Second World War and ended with the peaceful revolutions in 1989/90 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War was fought as a contest over a way of life as much as it was an armed confrontation. The Cold War combined the ideological contest between capitalist liberal democracies and communist dictatorships with unprecedented levels of armaments and military conflicts worldwide. As such, the Cold War had a significant impact on society and culture.

Avro Vulcan B.2A, 1963. Image Courtesy of National Museums Scotland.

Materialising the Cold War is a partnership between the University of Stirling and National Museums Scotland that will explore how the Cold War, its global experience and its heritage are described in museums and how museums can adapt to tell this story in future. It will achieve this in two ways: first, by evaluating existing displays and collections together with key partners in the UK, in Germany and in Norway, and second, by creating a new, ground-breaking special exhibition at NMS on the basis of our findings.

Funded by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Project Reference: AH/V001078/1), our three-year project will leave a legacy of ideas and practices developed through academic research, events, a schools programme, a major exhibition and publications.

Theme by the University of Stirling