Interpreting Historic House Museums

( 2 )

Overview

Times are changing at historic house museums and no one is more aware of this than the fourteen contributors to Interpreting Historic House Museums. These respected museum professionals consider the history of house museums and the need to look at familiar issues from new perspectives and using new methods. If your site isn't using a comprehensive interpretive plan, how can you create one? While doing so, how do you address contemporary issues like race and gender? Don't forget the physical either—does your ...

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Interpreting Historic House Museums

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Overview

Times are changing at historic house museums and no one is more aware of this than the fourteen contributors to Interpreting Historic House Museums. These respected museum professionals consider the history of house museums and the need to look at familiar issues from new perspectives and using new methods. If your site isn't using a comprehensive interpretive plan, how can you create one? While doing so, how do you address contemporary issues like race and gender? Don't forget the physical either—does your property need a landscape plan as well as a furnishings plan? And, when your visitors arrive to see all your hard work, how accessible is your property? If the answer is not very, what can and should you be doing to address that? Once inside, how good are your tours and guides, and does your furnishings plan allow visitors to maximize their experiences in areas without guides? Interpreting Historic House Museums captures the big picture and the important details. Its discussion of contemporary issues and successful programs, its practical guidelines and information, up-to-date references, and lively illustrations will make it useful and relevant for both students and practicing professionals.

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Editorial Reviews

Te Ara—Museums Aotearoa
The advice presented in these essays is less prescriptive than eminently practical, and clearly understands the realities likely to be met by those working with house museums.
Journal of The Illinois State Historical Society
Rich in case studies, this book—like the symposia that spawned it—targets 'the small, understaffed, and underfunded' institution. It holds useful information for house museums of all types, however, while its integrative approach to interpretation renders many of its lessons pertinent to an assortment of historic sites.
— Mary Munsell Abroe, Kendall College, Evanston, Illinois
Te Ara-Museums Aotearoa
The advice presented in these essays is less prescriptive than eminently practical, and clearly understands the realities likely to be met by those working with house museums.
Vol.71 No. 3 Summer 2003 Utah Historical Quarterly
The book is a volume in the American Association for State and Local History Book Series and will be of interest to museum professionals as well as anyone who enjoys visiting historic house musems.
The Public Historian - Patricia West
For those of us involved in interpreting house museums, this is the selection to make. . . . We now have a new body of guidance and encouragement as we work to locate a vital cutural niche for house museums in the twenty-first century.
It is clear that if house museums are to remain viable, we must be able to assert their relevance and purpose to new audiences in a new century. Donnelly calls it a 'fundamental question of survival'. . . . Interpreting Historic House Museums highlights how crucial it will be to create and sustain a network of communication between people working with historic house museums in order to 'meet with vigor the interpretive challenges that lie ahead.'
The Annals Of Iowa, Vol. 62, No. 2, Spring 2003 - Jennifer Pustz
A collection of essays that achieves a balance between theories and their practical applications . . . Interpreting Historic House Museums covers a lot of territory and brings the profession up to speed on recent interpretive innovations. . . . The essays are thought-provoking and vivid illustrations of a variety of tours and educational programs. Interpreting Historic House Museums demonstrates just how diverse and exciting the stories of historic house museums can be.
Historic Environment, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2003 - Linda Young
Lively and relevant...a compendium of bright ideas for enlivening house museums...[has] novel contributions to the house museum literature.
Interpretation, Vol. 8, Nr. 3, Autumn 2003 - Ruth Taylor
This book is a really practical resource for anyone involved in the interpretation of historic houses. It reminds us of the need to look at familiar issues with new perspectives and new methods to meet the sophisticated demands of today's visitors. The discussion of contemporary issues and successful programmes, practical guidelines and information make this a useful book for both students and practising professionals.
Journal Of The Illinois State Historical Society - Mary Munsell Abroe
Rich in case studies, this book—like the symposia that spawned it—targets 'the small, understaffed, and underfunded' institution. It holds useful information for house museums of all types, however, while its integrative approach to interpretation renders many of its lessons pertinent to an assortment of historic sites.
The Public Historian
For those of us involved in interpreting house museums, this is the selection to make. . . . We now have a new body of guidance and encouragement as we work to locate a vital cutural niche for house museums in the twenty-first century.
It is clear that if house museums are to remain viable, we must be able to assert their relevance and purpose to new audiences in a new century. Donnelly calls it a 'fundamental question of survival'. . . . Interpreting Historic House Museums highlights how crucial it will be to create and sustain a network of communication between people working with historic house museums in order to 'meet with vigor the interpretive challenges that lie ahead.'
— Patricia West, National Park Service
Museums Australia Magazine
Donnelly's edited volume, Interpreting Historic House Museums, will no doubt become a valuable tool for historic house museum staff. . . I would recommend this book to museum studies students and to anyone considering establishing a historic house museum. . . the practical guidelines are useful and relevant.
Journal Of The Illinois State Historical Society
Rich in case studies, this book—like the symposia that spawned it—targets 'the small, understaffed, and underfunded' institution. It holds useful information for house museums of all types, however, while its integrative approach to interpretation renders many of its lessons pertinent to an assortment of historic sites.
— Mary Munsell Abroe
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jessica Foy Donnelly was curator of collections at the McFaddin-Ward House for twelve years, during which time she co-edited American Home Life, 1880-1930: A Social History of Spaces and Services and The Arts and the American Home, 1890-1930. She is currently working on various house museum projects and previously worked for Old Salem, Inc., in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She received her B.A. in American studies and English from Salem College in Winston-Salem, and her M.A. in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York at Oneonta.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: Past, Present, and Future: The Place of the House Museum in the Museum Community Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Interpretation Planning: Why and How Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Interpreting the Whole House Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Making Gender Matter: Interpreting Male and Female Roles in Historic House Museums Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Grounds for Interpretation: The Landscape Context of Historic House Museums Chapter 7 Chapter 6: The Historic House Furnishings Plan: Process and Product Chapter 8 Chapter 7: "I Wish You Could Take a Peek at Us at the Present Moment": Infusing the Historic House with Characters and Activity Chapter 9 Chapter 8: Balancing Our Commitments: Access and Historic Preservation Chapter 10 Chapter 9: Historic House Tours that Succeed: Choosing the Best Tour Approach Chapter 11 Chapter 10: Creating Memorable Visits: How to Develop and Implement Theme-Based Tours Chapter 12 Chapter 11: Engaging Visitors Through Effective Communication Chapter 13 Chapter 12: Building a Took Kit for Your Interpreters Chapter 14 Chapter 13: Endless Possibilities: Historic House Museum Programs that Make Educators Sing Chapter 15 Chapter 14: Programming at the Shadows: Education with a Mission

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Relevant For Those Who Want a Deeper Understanding of American Museums

    This book is required reading for a college class that I am auditing as a post-graduate Senior Scholar. As such, I am taking this class solely out of curiosity and self-interest. The articles that have been assigned from this book are well-written and cover areas of understanding how a museum should operate that may otherwise be overlooked or misunderstood. Some of the articles can be common sense if you already frequent museums.

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