Museums and Galleries History Group Biannual Conference "Houses as museums/museums as houses"

Country: United Kingdom

City: London

Abstr. due: 31.08.2014

Dates: 12.09.14 — 13.09.14

Area Of Sciences: Arts; Cultural science;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Museums and Galleries History Group


The relationship between museums and domestic spaces is a long and complex one. Museums were born in the houses of collectors, while the reconstruction of the house or domestic room – of ‘home’, effectively – continues to be an influential if controversial model for museum display. On the other hand, museums have at times invested heavily in the idea of their spaces as public, scientific and definitively non-domestic. The line between house and museum is therefore also one between public and private, scientific and domestic; and house-museums/museum-houses have acted both to confirm, to alter, and to undermine this line completely.

The 2014 MGHG conference seeks to understand the historical development of this relationship by investigating the ways in which museums have acted as houses, and houses have acted as museums. It will also explore the ways in which house-museums and museum-houses have been positioned in boundary zones of space and time, and what effect they have had on those boundaries.


Friday 12 September

10.00 - 10.30 Registration and refreshments

10.30 - 10.45 Introduction

10.45 - 12.15 Panel 1: The early modern legacy (Chair Stephanie Bowry)

Theda Jurjens, ‘Artists’ houses: spaces of knowledge, artistic production and social reputation’

Cristiano Guarneri (IUAV University, Venice), ‘A private display for a public space: The Statuario Pubblico (1587-96) – a Venetian approach to the display of ancient sculpture’

Thomas Schauerte (City of Nuremberg Art Collections), ‘From memorial to museum: the Dürer house in Nuremberg’

12.15 - 12.30 Curator's introduction to the Great Gallery rehang (in lecture theatre)

12.30 - 13.15 Private view of Great Gallery

13.15 - 14.30 Lunch (not provided)

14.30 - 16.00  Panel 2: Architecture and museums/houses (Chair Sarah Longair)

Jeremy Aynsley (University of Brighton), ‘Curating Bauhaus houses, 1923-2019’

Maria D’Annibale Williams (Ohio University), ‘Museum space in Fascist Verona and the display of social identity: a case study’

Jane Whittaker (Bowes Museum), ‘Mrs Bowes’s mansion and galleries at Barnard Castle, Durham’

16.00 - 16.30  Tea/coffee

16.30 - 17.30 Round table: curating houses as museums (Chair Mark Westgarth)

Abraham Thomas and Nicholas Tromans

17.30 - 19.00 Wine reception

Saturday 13 September

10.00 - 10.30 Tea/coffee

10.30 - 11.30 Keynote lecture (Chair Kate Hill)

Helen Rees Leahy, ‘The pleasures and paradoxes of house museums’

11.30 - 13.00 Panel 3: Concepts and approaches (Chair Elena Greer)

Sophie Forgan (Captain Cook Memorial Museum), ‘Interpretation and anthropological approaches to the historic house museum’

Lydia Brandt (University of South Carolina), ‘George Washington’s Mount Vernon: America’s First House (museum)’

Helen Williams (Northumbria University), ‘The literary house museum: an eighteenth-century invention?’

13.00 - 14.15 Lunch (not provided) (13.45-14.15, MGHG AGM)

14.15 - 15.45 Panel 4: Modern spaces, art and houses/museums (Chair Barbara Lasic)

Flaminia Gennari Santori (Syracuse University Florence), ‘Tropical baroque – Vizcaya: a Venetian-inspired house museum in Miami, FL’

Alexandra Bounia (University of the Aegean) ‘Byzantine parlours and museums: gendered spaces in early 20th-century Greece’

Louise Shannon (V&A), ‘Creating “Tomorrow”: Norman Swann moves into the V&A’

15.45 - 16.15 Tea/coffee

16.15 - 17.45 Panel 5: Science at home and on display (Chair Ilja Nieuwland)

Elisabeth Hoffman (University of Kassel), ‘Art and science: the interior of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s home as a museological and epistemological concept’

Helen McCormack (Glasgow School of Art), ‘The anatomist at home: the Great Windmill Street Anatomy School and Museum’

Caroline Morris (University of the West of England), ‘“…Fit like a snail to its shell”’

17.45 Conference ends

Note: all conference sessions except the Great Gallery view take place in the lecture theatre. Tea and coffee are provided in the Meeting Room. Wine reception takes place in the Café. Lunch is not provided, but there are many places for lunch very close to the Wallace Collection.

The Wallace collection opens at 10.00 so please do not arrive earlier.

Conference Web-Site: