Readers may be aware of the recent wave of disparagement around this notion that there are “too many house museums.” The “too many” campaign was launched about fifteen years ago by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in part to provide protective cover as they shifted more of the responsibility for their chain of house museums onto the communities where they are located; as they sold off others and also to make a point about adaptive reuse – that every old house worth saving does not need to become a museum – obviously.
It had corrosive effects and has influenced some organizations to disengage from past commitments. It has spawned a sub-culture of consultants offering themselves as a solution to sky-is- falling scenarios that they repeat at professional conferences and in various writings and lectures. To listen to most of what’s out there on the subject you’d think that Americans were turning their backs on local history at unprecedented levels and that the future of the past was grim and foreboding. Continue reading