The 1980s and early 1990s have seen a marked increase in public interest in our historic environment. The museum and heritage industry has expanded as the past is exploited for commercial profit. In The Representation of the Past, Kevin Walsh examines this international trend and questions the packaging of history which serves only to distance people from their own heritage. A superficial, unquestioning portrayal of the past, he feels, separates us from an understanding of our cultural and political present. Here, Walsh suggests a number of ways in which the museum can fulfill its potential - by facilitating our comprehension of cultural identity.