To understand what role a museum; such as a National Museum; plays in society this paper proposes the approach of looking at museums in a comprehensive way. An exhibition can be seen as a process of mediation and three phases of this process can be discerned and analysed. Different actors and conditions connected to these phases have the potential of shaping the story told and the way it can be understood. This paper underlines the importance of analyzing each of these phases separately; but also of looking at the process in its entirety. Questions such as ‚ÄúWhat are the intentions of the museum staff or exhibition producers?‚ÄĚ What is narrated and reproduced in the exhibitions?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúHow does the visitor make meaning of the mediation in the museum?‚ÄĚ can then not only be answered; but also be seen in the light of each other; promoting a greater understanding of the museum itself; of the museum‚Äôs role in society and of the museum experience. Using examples from research on the exhibition Afrikafararna this paper proposes that this comprehensive approach is a fruitful method to apply when analyzing and comparing different museums; and when trying to understand what the concept of a National Museum really is.