Domesticating History: The Political Origins of America's House Museums

Domesticating History: The Political Origins of America's House Museums

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by Patricia West
     
 

Celebrating the lives of famous men and women, historic house museums showcase restored rooms and period furnishings, and portray in detail their former occupants' daily lives. But behind the gilded molding and curtain brocade lie the largely unknown, politically charged stories of how the homes were first established as museums. Focusing on George Washington’

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Overview

Celebrating the lives of famous men and women, historic house museums showcase restored rooms and period furnishings, and portray in detail their former occupants' daily lives. But behind the gilded molding and curtain brocade lie the largely unknown, politically charged stories of how the homes were first established as museums. Focusing on George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the Booker T. Washington National Monument, Patricia West shows how historic houses reflect less the lives and times of their famous inhabitants than the political pressures of the eras during which they were transformed into museums.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560988366
Publisher:
Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date:
05/28/1999
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.57(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1Inventing a House Undivided: Antebellum Cultural Politics and the Enshrinement of Mount Vernon1
2Gender Politics and the Orchard House Museum39
3Campaigning for Monticello93
4"The Bricks of Compromise Settle into Place": Booker T. Washington's Birthplace and the Civil Rights Movement129
Conclusion159
Notes163
Index233

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