House & Home

April 28, 2012–May 1, 2017

  • Family barbecue in Lakewood Plaza suburban development, Long Beach, California, ca. 1950. Architect: Chris Choate with designer Cliff May. Photo by Maynard L. Parker; The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
  • Oak Alley, Vacherie, Louisiana. Architect: Gilbert Joseph Pilie. Built: 1836. Model by Studios Eichbaum + Arnold, 2008. Photo by Museum staff.
  • Installation photo showing House & Home’s dramatic display of 196 household objects. Photo by Allan Sprecher. Courtesy of the National Building Museum.
  • Fiestaware Pitcher, 1950s-60s; Big Ben alarm clock, 1920s; Tupperware snack cups, 1970s; Camera, 1940s (Howard County Historical Society, Ellicott City, Maryland); Meat grinder, 1940s; Royal Doulton figurine, 1962 (Private Collection). Photo by Museum staff.
  • Visitors enjoying the House & Home exhibition. Photo by Museum staff.
  • Straw Bale House, Santa Cruz, California, 2010. Architect: Arkin Tilt Architects. Built: 2010. Photo ©2010 Edward Caldwell, All Rights Reserved.
  • Vizcaya, Miami, Florida. Architect: F. Burrall Hoffman. Built: 1916. Model by Studios Eichbaum + Arnold, 2010. Photo by Museum staff.
  • Kitchen timer, 1990s (Sally D. Liff); Whale oil lamp, c. 1810s; Teddy bear, 1930s (Cynthia Field); Slinky, 1960s. Photo by Museum staff.
  • Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. Built: 1935. Model by Studios Eichbaum + Arnold, 2010. Photo by Museum staff.
  • Iron, 1930s; Fondue set, 1970s; Cocktail glass, 1950s; Thermostat, 1920s; Pap feeder, 1880s. Photo by Museum staff.

House & Home is an exhibition that takes visitors on a tour of the nation’s rich history of residential architecture, exploring the remarkable transformations in technology, laws, and consumer culture which have brought about enormous change in American domestic life. This exhibition capitalizes on the public's natural interest in the subject of “home,” giving visitors the opportunity to see themselves in the American story, to place their own experiences within the greater context of the social and cultural history that has shaped our residential world.

The 7,000-square-foot exhibition, designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, uses artifacts, video, photographs, and models to tell the story of American residential architecture. Hundreds of photographs help visitors explore the relationships between the residential structures we build and the way we live. A timeline of American history as seen through issues of housing presents the people, laws, and events that led our residential built environment to look the way it does today. Full-size wall sections introduce the ideas of construction and engineering and how these fields have changed over time, and a wide array of household objects, both ordinary and unusual, bring visitors into all sorts of houses over the course of American history. In the final section, the focus turns outward, exploring the relationship of the individual house to the larger society. Throughout, original videos connect visitors to the cultural history and contemporary experience of home life.

How we build and arrange to live in our houses, and the variety of ways we imagine and conceptualize "home," are key issues that affect us all. Indeed, as a nation, we have recently discovered how tightly interwoven the housing industry is with the entire American economic system and how important it is for us as citizens to understand the significance of housing, both ideologically and in reality.

House & Home is generously sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; Hanley Wood; Institute of Museum and Library Services; Andersen Corporate Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; MASCO Corporation Foundation; Glass Construction; The Vinyl Institute; Anonymous; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; National Association of Home Builders; National Endowment for the Arts; and AARP.

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