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Historic House Museums range from castles to cottages from all periods. The interpretation of house museums includes historic, architectural, cultural, artistic and social information. The curation of a house museum includes questions of conservation, restoration and security, the interpretation of the history of the house, its owners and its collections, as well as the communication to visitors.

5cc2eb66220542f1a28d5b85c8228195Floating Castle (Ukraine) | AnOther | Loves

A historic house museum curator is an all-rounder with a wide range of knowledge and ability, who takes a pragmatic approach to his or her task. He or she has to be a flexible person, able and willing to run a one-man/woman show. Resources are usually limited.

A curator will be educated to university degree standard in one of the following:

• History

• Art history

• Literature

• Music


He or she has a keen interest and the ability to learn about:

Conservation of architecture as well as all materials involved in a house museum such as textiles, paintings and wood sculptures, different metals, glass, ceramics, paper. An interest in the history of garden design can be useful.

Collections management: he or she has to have knowledge about registration of collections, conservation and climate control.

Interpretation: an academic who is able to work out a convincing concept of interpretation and can realize an attractive exhibition respecting the house and its setting.

Communication: a communicative person, who finds the right way to communicate to a large public, politicians, members of the original owner family and professionals. The curator will be well aware of all services, which visitors expect.

Marketing: The ability to increase the visibility of the house through all aspects of tourism.

Sustainable management: He or she is well aware of the peculiarities of a house museum and its setting and is creative in finding new ways of attracting paying visitors, friends and sponsors to keep the house a place of attraction without endangering its architecture and collections. He or she knows common management tools (strategic plans, budgets, people skills).

Cultural events and ventures: he or she is open to ventures in a responsible way and has creative ideas for events in connection with the history of the house.

f221208da739189a9359348f759cf7c9Castles made of sand… on Behance

Resource: ICOM / Daniela Ball