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Domesticating History:
The Political Origins of America's House Museums

by Patricia West

ISBN 1560988118 / 9781560988113 / 1-56098-811-8
Publisher Smithsonian Institution Press
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Celebrating the lives of famous men and women, historic house museums showcase restored rooms and period furnishings, and portray in detail their former occupants' daily lives. But behind the gilded molding and curtain brocade lie the largely unknown, politically charged stories of how the homes were first established as museums. Focusing on George Washingtons Mount Vernon, Louisa May Alcotts Orchard House, Thomas Jeffersons Monticello, and the Booker T. Washington National Monument, Patricia West shows how historic houses reflect less the lives and times of their famous inhabitants than the political pressures of the eras during which they were transformed into museums. [via]