Sunday, May 9, 2021

Considering Historic House Museums

Next Monday, May 17, the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presents a talk by Patricia West McKay, eminent historian, museum curator, and author, about house museums. What kinds of stories do they tell? What stories do they leave out?

Nineteenth-century museums were typically the creation of women. Those created in the early 20th century were more likely founded by male politicians, corporations, and museum professionals. All of these museum founders were establishing "monuments steeped in the issues of their times." McKay's book Domesticating History: The Political Origins of America's House Museums explored the role of gender and race in American house museums and became an "instant classic." McKay is well known for her groundbreaking work to bring to the fore the lives and labors of domestic servants in historic houses that are now house museums.

McKay is the recently retired curator/historian of the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook. She is co-director of the University at Albany's Center for Applied Historical Research, which works to facilitate broad, democratic access to historical resources and knowledge.

The Zoom event takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

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