‘Houses, however resplendent, are part of everyone’s common experience,’ and this, according to Dr Rosanna Pavoni, helps to simplify the presentation of history to the visitors of historic house museums. This article presents a starting point for defining house museums based on the wide professional experience of Dr Pavoni, who is administrative secretary of the International Committee for Historic House Museums (DemHist). The rediscovery of Renaissance forms and culture during the second half of the nineteenth century has been the basic theme of all her research, conferences, exhibitions, publications and professional activities for the past fifteen years. This theme, also linked to the history of collections and the evolution of taste in interior decoration, uses the artistic whole of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan (Italy) (house and art collections) as a model and also as a source of very important documents. Dr Pavoni has written extensively, and has also edited works, on the Neo-Renaissance and on art collecting as exemplified in the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum. She has also founded, and is the editor of, the Italian/English publications of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum under the title of Appunti del Museo Bagatti Valsecchi (Notes of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum), the fifth and most recent volume of which deals with the restoration of nineteenth-century decorative art and culture. Since 1988, she has been director of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum.