“The New Historic House” Lecture Series
April 16, 2012
The Archive Project was honored to co-sponsor “The New Historic House” Lecture Series with the Historic House Trust (HHT). This series featured “An Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums: Thoughts on Houses,” “The Great Houses of Havana: A Century of Cuban Style,” and “The Russel Wright Design Center: More Than a House Museum.” The first lecture, featuring HHT executive director Franklin D. Vagnone, analyzed the role of historic house museums in today’s society and how these spaces have come to exist between the “real and the ideal” within architectural history and interpretation. This thought-provoking talk was inspired by Vagnone’s manuscript, The Flattening of History, a visual and conceptual manifesto derived from decades of experience relating to historic sites and historic house museums. Vagnone teased out the complexities of the visitor experience and made tangible suggestions for ways in which historic sites can transform themselves to become relevant today.
In his “Great Houses of Havana” presentation, architect and author Hermes Mallea spoke on his recently published book that gives readers an insider’s look at some of Havana’s most significant historic residences. Using interviews and obscure archives to construct these houses’ stories, Mallea explored the myriad personal and architectural histories that unfolded behind the walls of these dwellings between the years 1850 and 1960. The co-sponsored lecture series culminated with a lecture by David M. McAlpin, director of the Russel Wright Design Center, who spoke on the history of Wright’s Manitoga, the site’s restoration projects, and the evolving responsibilities of a house museum. The Archive Project enjoys sharing with the public exciting collaborations that explore the boundaries of preservation and incorporate the use of archives to reconstruct histories.
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