Short-listed for the Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2003 Museums have been the subject of intense debate in recent years and their history and development raise important questions. What was modern about the art museum? Why did museums emerge when and where they did? How were museums involved with the development of modern art worlds? What was the relationship between art galleries and their audiences and who were the key people involved with their inception? Focusing on the role of national art galleries in continental Europe, England and Scotland, this book explores in depth the interrelationship between artistic and exhibitionary forms, as well as between power and governance in those places where the roots of modern culture were being laid most visibly. Drawing upon debates concerning modernity, Prior investigates how the boundaries of art and culture have been determined within the museum world. In particular, he looks at the interface between the project of the nation and the gallery and how galleries were involved in making certain social groups or bodies feel at home and others excluded.