Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Historic House Museums

Historic House Museums

Historic House Museums

A Historic House Museum is the house of a famous person or one that is preserved due to its historical significance and has been transformed into a museum. Historic furnishings or personal items of the renowned occupant may be displayed in a way that reflects their original placement and usage in the House Museum.

Houses are transformed into museums for many different reasons. For example, the homes of famous writers, politicians, musicians or artists are frequently turned into a home museum to support the study, education and enjoyment of that person’s artistic or social contributions.

Some House Museums are organised around a specific person who lived there or the social role that the house had, as in the example of a palace or government that housed a succession of leaders. Other historic house museums may be partially or wholly reconstructed to tell the story of a particular area, social-class or historical period. The ‘narrative’ of the people who lived there guides the choice of exhibits.

Historic House Museums

Historic House Museums

  • Charles Dickens Museum
    • The Charles Dickens Museum is the author’s house turned into a museum about Charles Dickens. The museum is housed in a Georgian terraced house which was Charles Dickens’s home from 1837 to 1839. Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine Dickens lived here and their older two daughters, Mary and Kate were born in this house.
  • Sherlock Holmes Museum
    • The Sherlock Holmes Museum is dedicated to the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Situated in Baker Street, bearing the number 221B by permission of the City of Westminster, although it lies between numbers 237 and 241. The Georgian townhouse which the museum occupies was formerly used as a boarding house from 1881 to 1904 when the stories that describe Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson residing at that approximate location as tenants of Mrs Hudson.
  • Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum
    • The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is a stone cottage on a 17 hectares (42 acres) block of land which was initially owned by the Australian artist and writer Norman Lindsay. The property also has some smaller buildings including two used as oil painting and etching studios.
  • Atatürk Museum (Thessaloniki)
    • The Atatürk Museum is the house museum where the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in 1881. Before the capture of Thessaloniki by the Greek Army in 1912, this part of modern Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire. It is a three-floor house with a courtyard built before 1870, and in 1935 the Thessaloniki City Council gave it to the Turkish State, which decided to convert it into a museum dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In 1981 a replica of the house was built in Ankara.
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    • The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM) is in Boston, Massachusetts, located within walking distance of the Museum of Fine Art, Boston. The museum displays an art collection of world importance, including outstanding examples of European, Asian, and American art, from paintings and sculpture to tapestries and decorative arts.
  • Queen’s House, Greenwich
    • The Queen’s House is a former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635 in Greenwich, a few miles down-river from the then City of London. Its architect was Inigo Jones, for whom it was an early commission from Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James I. The Queen’s House was the first classical building to have been constructed in England. It was Jones’s first significant commission after returning from his 1613–1615 grand tour of Roman, Renaissance, and Palladian architecture in Italy.
  • Hampton Court Palace
    • Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace which is located upstream of central London on the River Thames. The palace building project began in 1515 with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as the owner. However, in 1529, Wolsey fell from favour, and King Henry VIII seized the palace for himself. Henry VIII enlarged the palace complex to cater to his large royal court. Today you can walk in King Henry VIII’s and his many wives’ footsteps.
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum
    • The Sir John Soane’s Museum is a house museum that was formerly the home of the neo-classical architect John Soane. It holds drawings and models of Soane’s projects and his collections of paintings, drawings and antiquities. Soane developed his house by demolishing and rebuilding three homes in succession on the north side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. He began with No. 12, between 1792 and 1794, which externally was a plain brick house. In 1806, Soane purchased No. 13, the house next door, which today is the museum, and rebuilt. In 1808–09 Soane constructed his drawing office and “museum” on the site of the former stable block at the back. In 1812 he rebuilt the front part of the site, adding a projecting Portland Stone façade to the basement, ground and first floor levels and the centre bay of the second floor.
  • Driehaus Museum
    • The Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago, Illinois is housed within the historic Samuel M. Nickerson House, the 1883 residence of a wealthy Chicago banker. The Driehaus Museum displays Gilded Age American design, architecture, and decorating tastes and the art nouveau era in permanent and special exhibitions.
  • Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney
    • The Hyde Park Barracks Museum is a brick building and compound designed by convict architect Francis Greenway in 1819 to house convict men and boys. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a pre-eminent Australian Convict Sites as amongst “the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.”

Explore Specialist Museums

A museum is an institution that cares for a collection in any field of endeavour that is of interest to humankind. The types of museums vary from large institutions, covering many of the categories below, to smaller institutions focusing on highly specific subjects.

Cultural Museums

Money, Banking and Mint Museums

Library Museums

Sports Museums

Religious Historic Buildings / Museums

Music Museums

University Museums

Prison Museums

Police Museums

Motor Vehicle Museums

Air and Space Museums

Medical Museums

Transport Museums

Military and War Museums and Memorials

Spy Museums

Air and Space Museums

Maritime Museums

Museums Ship

Science and Technology Museums

Natural History Museums

Portrait Galleries

Archaeological Museums


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– Vincent van Gogh


Photo Credit: JOM