House museums as sites of memory

  • Susan Webber

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Houses and the objects within them stand as tangible symbols of human memory. Some memories are created unconsciously in day-to-day living; others are consciously attached to objects that are cherished as symbols of other places, relatives and friends. Memories may seem to be lost until they are rediscovered in moment of involuntary recall, triggered by an object, a smell or taste. The purpose of this research project is to investigate the memory experiences of visitors to a house museum; what they do with those experiences and how important they are to them. Forty adult visitors to Calthorpes' House in the ACT were interviewed using the focused interview technique with a framework of questions that allowed for a conversational style and additional questions. The interviews were recorded and later transcribed. The results showed that all visitors reported experiencing memories during their visit to Calthorpes' House. Many people found those experiences enjoyable and wanted to share them with others. These findings are important because they can inform the set-up, interpretation and publicity of house museums in ways which will attract new visitors and help to engage with visitors' interests when they visit house museums.
    Date of Award2005
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorLinda YOUNG (Supervisor)

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