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Introduction to historic house museums

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Abstract:

In November 1997, a major conference entitled Abitare la storia: Le dimore storiche-museo (Inhabiting History: Historical House Museums) was held in Genoa, the city of many palaces. On this occasion, the historic house museum, a rather particular type of museum, was extensively discussed for the very first time. The specific nature and values of such museums were highlighted. Over forty experts, who are responsible for palaces and more modest residences, came to Genoa for the conference. They debated aspects of restoration, security, teaching and communication. The conference participants took the opportunity to express their wish for the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to set up an international committee more specifically dedicated to historic house museums. They asked ICOM Italia, which was also present at the conference, to support their recommendation for the creation of the new committee, and this was done in 1998. Giovanni Pinna is the chairman of this newly created International Committee for Historic House Museums. He is president of the ICOM Italian Committee and also president of the ICOM International Committee for Museology of Historic Sites. A palaeontologist by training, he directed the Museum of Natural History in Milan from 1981 to 1996. He has published some sixty books and articles on various topics in the domain of theoretical museology as well as on the history and functions of museum institutions. His books include Museo: Storia e funzioni di una macchina culturale dal cinquecento a oggi (1980) and Fondamenti terici per un Museo di Storia Naturale (1997).

Document Type: Introduction

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0033.00306

Affiliations: International Committee for Historic House Museums

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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