Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

Historic House Museums – Virtual Tour

Historic House Museums

Historic House Museums – Virtual Tour

A Historic House Museum is the house of a famous person or one that is preserved due to its historical significance.

A Virtual Tour of Historic House Museums

Historic House Museums

A Historic House Museum usually has historic furnishings or personal items of the renowned occupant that 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 but most frequently to support the study, education, and enjoyment of that person’s artistic or social contributions. Example include the homes of:

  • famous writers,
  • politicians,
  • musicians,
  • military leaders,
  • financial leaders,
  • and artists 

Some House Museums are organized around a specific person who lived there or the social role of the house. Examples include Palaces and Government buildings 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.

Highlights of Historic House Museum – Virtual Tours

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. It is 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 sculptures 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 favor, 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 center 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 labor of convicts.”

ʻIolani Palace

The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii, beginning with Kamehameha III in 1845 and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893. 

Kamehameha III,  the third king of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1825 to 1854, developed his Royal Residence after moving the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii to Honolulu. 

The Palace served as the official residence of the monarch during the reigns of Kamehameha III, Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V, Lunalilo, and the first part of Kalākaua’s reign.

Initially, the Palace was primarily meant for receiving foreign dignitaries and state functions with the monarch preferring to sleep in private homes.

Kalākaua was the first monarch to travel around the world. While visiting Europe, he took note of the grand palaces owned by other rulers.

He commissioned the construction of a new ʻIolani Palace to become the official Palace of the Hawaiian monarchy. It had electricity and telephones even before the White House.

Oaklands Historic House Museum | Tennessee Crossroads

The Glessner House Museum | Chicago

Historic Charleston Foundation House Museums: Aiken-Rhett House & Nathaniel Russell House

Visit a Haunted House: Merchant’s House Museum

Historic Homes of Charleston

Taos, including the Fechin Home Museum

Take a tour-Salem Witch house. 1600’s era house of Jonathan Corwin

Management Challenges at Historic House Museums

Historic House Museums (to be added)

  • Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, Virginia)
  • Winchester Mystery House (San Jose, California)
  • Monticello (Charlottesville, Virginia)
  • Hearst Castle (San Luis Obispo, California)
  • Bishop’s Palace (Galveston, Texas)
  • Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (Houston, Texas)
  • Biltmore Estate (Asheville, North Carolina)
  • Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee)
  • The Breakers (Newport, Rhode Island)
  • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens – Akron, Ohio
  • Houmas House Plantation and Gardens – Darrow, La.
  • Cairnwood – Bryn Athyn, Penn.
  • Biltmore – Asheville, N.C.
  • Meadow Brook Hall – Rochester, Mich.
  • Oak Alley Plantation – Vacherie, La.
  • Ca’ d’Zan – Sarasota, Fla.
  • Lyndhurst – Tarrytown, N.Y.
  • The Oaks (Tuskegee, Alabama)
  • Langston Hughes House (New York)
  • The Mount (Lenox, Massachusetts)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home (Atlanta)
  • Gamble House (Pasadena, California)
  • Olana State Historic Site (Hudson, New York)
  • The African Meeting House (Boston)
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar House (Dayton, Ohio)
  • Drayton Hall (Charleston, South Carolina)
  • The House of Seven Gables – Salem, Massachusetts
  • The Witch House (aka The Jonathan Corwin House) – Salem, Massachusetts
  • Point of Honor – Lynchburg, Virginia
  • The John and Mable Ringling Mansion – Sarasota, Florida


“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”  
– Vincent van Gogh


Photo Credit: JOM

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