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The Difference in Architecture of House Museums


A house museum is one of the many types of museums around the world. These museums are unique since they are people’s homes converted to museums over the years. It has some differences in architecture from a typical history museum, for it was once a person’s home (History of Museums 2021). Moreover, a house museum usually has a reason behind its conversion to a museum from a regular house. It could be either the house inhabitants were prominent people, or it could be due to some historical occurrences in that house.

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The Differences between a House Museum and a Usual Museum

Museums have a general architecture type as they all regard International Council of Museum regulations and specifications. However, the International Council of Museum specifications exempts house museums since their initial building plan was not originally for museums. They were initially habitable homes that were modified into house museums for various reasons.

The Architectural Designs that Define a House Museum

When it comes to house museums, each has a unique architectural structure since they were initially housed with different architectural designs. The museum’s setup should not interfere with the initial form of the house for originality purposes. It maintains the original look that makes it easier to show the actual placement of things and the owner’s life in their home. These museums allow different interpretations of the owner’s home, thus attracting a larger audience interested in getting various interpretations of the artifacts in the house museum (Turino and Zannieri 2019). Compared to other regular museums, the interpretation of artifacts and other historical events is fixed and is not up for discussion, without variations can be made to it.

Moreover, there is a significant difference between the furnishing of the house museum and the regular one. The furnishing may seem to have little to no correlation with the architectural part of the museum; however, they are codependent on each other. The house’s original furnishing is usually retained to explain how the house looked before the occurrence that happened in the place or before the owner passed away. The furnishing makes it easier to understand the type of person the owner used to be and how they lived.

House museums allow easy movement around the setting. Although the free movement is not always associated with architectural design, it adds a significant value. In other museums, most artifacts are viewed inside a protected glass box or on walls in cases of art museums. In house museums, the artifacts retain their original places; hence, people can walk around and observe them, which requires space for movement during the observation visits.

Nonetheless, the architectural design of the house museum does not change when conducting renovations. Renovations for a house museum are necessary, but little is allowed to change to prevent the setting from losing its authenticity and meaning. This technically means that the renovations are necessary but should be minimal compared to other regular museums.

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The Effects of the Unique Architectural Structure of the House Museum in Its Preservation and Conservation

The effects of the architectural structure of the house museum on its preservations and conservation can be similar to other types of museums. These are some common effects, such as direct sunlight and high temperatures (National Park Service 2021). However, a couple of architectural structure effects are restricted to house museums to preserve and conserve artifacts and museums.

The existence of furniture in the house-museum leads to many pests such as termites that feed off the wood. Thus, the museum will require regular fumigation with chemicals that will not affect the other artifacts in the house museum. If the house is located in warm-climate areas, there may be a need to put temperature regulators and thermostats to maintain cool temperatures in the museum. This is because the furnishing in the house-museum has many wood furniture that can be destroyed when exposed to high temperatures. Another way of preserving the artifacts would be putting some shades on the windows to prevent the entry of direct sunlight onto the artifacts because this may destroy them.

Due to the need for accessibility of the house museum for easy movement, this may lead to handling of the artifacts that may damage them due to the sweat and oil found on human skin at all times. This will necessitate the need to have gloves available in the museum for artifact handling, thus reducing the amount of dirt and other substances that are gotten onto the artifacts. Moreover, the paper artifacts in the museum, such as books, journals, and hand-written materials stored in rooms such as libraries and study rooms in the museum, will require general fumigation to keep away pests such as roaches who get attracted to the paper.

In conclusion, the above explains the difference in architecture when it comes to house museums and the need for those differences to facilitate the day-to-day working of a house museum. It is important to note that the above differences make the house museum special and unique and should not be tampered with lest the house museum’s authenticity. Nonetheless, house museums are slowly gaining popularity with historians who like to view artifacts with an open mind.


History of Museums. 2021. “Types of Museums – Museum Types and Categories.” History of museums. Web.

National Park Service. 2021. “Preservation & Conservation – Museum Resource Center (U.S. National Park Service).” NPS. Web.

Turino, Kenneth, and Nina Zannieri. 2019. “Historic House Museums – the Inclusive Historian’s Handbook.” Inclusive Historian. Web.

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