Telling stories, sounding faith: exhibiting religion in historic house museums

Thormählen, W. (2021) Telling stories, sounding faith: exhibiting religion in historic house museums. In: Sound Heritage: Making Music Matter in Historic Houses. Routledge Research in Music . Routledge, Abingdon and New York. ISBN 9780367237165 (hardback) 9780429281327 (e-book)


This chapter contemplates the tales that these particular remnants of former musical practices tell. It considers how they bring narratives into focus that are often neglected in house museums. The chapter focuses on the once pervasive presence of spiritual practices in houses and homes, and on the curious absence of such practices in house-museum narratives today. Linda Young's taxonomy of the house museum suggests that whether a house museum celebrates a hero, its architecture, a collection and its collector, the presence of an aristocratic sub-strata of society, or the social history of the domestic, it always celebrates the notion of a dwelling as a site of idealised privacy and individuality. Racial marginalisation as an active concern has only recently spilled from ethnographic and historical museums to the house museum; within educational institutions at large, it has come under severe scrutiny only during the last five years.

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