Beautiful, Good, Important and Special: Cultural Heritage, Archaeology, Tourism and the Miniature in the Holy Land
Kersel, M., and Yorke, R. (2012), ‘Beautiful, Good, Important and Special: Cultural Heritage, Archaeology, Tourism and the Miniature in the Holy Land’, Heritage and Society 5(2), 199-220.
Through an examination of representations of cultural heritage in miniature this paper tackles the recurrent question of how are culture, a nation, and the past presented to the public. Exploring how this is achieved at the microcosm of Mini Israel, an outdoor park midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv where you can “see it all small” (Shapira 2003: 1), we conclude that Mini Israel offers visitors (foreign or local) what they want; an unthreatening version of the Holy Land, where differences in ethnicities, religions, and political groups are abridged in a pristine environment free from conflict and strife. At Mini Israel displays include the commercial, the contemporary, and the ancient, depicting what is “beautiful, good, important, and special” (Shapira 2003: 2). We argue that the selection of sites in miniature is a reflection of tourism trends, financial motives, and visitor preference, rather than a reflection of facts on the ground.