Museums, archives and collections

The Apartment Building, Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History). The building contains 8 homes and each home tells stories of daily life, living conditions and interior styles in Oslo from the late 19th century to the present day.

DEMHIST – ICOM′s International Committee for Historic House Museums

Den Gamle By (The Old Town), Aarhus, Denmark – The Danish National Museum of Urban History and Culture. The museum is a living and breathing experience of what it was like to live and work in a Danish market town, and cares ofr 75 historic houses.

Deutsches Tapetenmuseum (German Wallpaper Museum), Kassel – currently closed for renovation, expected to reopen in 2015.

The Geffrye, Museum of the Home – collections of furniture, textiles, paintings and objects displayed in a series of period rooms from 1600 to the present day.

Helsinki City Museum – manages 11 museums, including the Burgher`s House, which presents the domestic life of a middle class family in the 1860s, and a permanent exhibition of Finnish interior design.

Horta Museum – beautiful Art Nouveau house designed by Victor Horta, which has been a museum since 1969.

Huis Sonneveld (Sonneveld House), Rotterdam, The Netherlands – the Sonneveld House shows visitors the domestic surroundings of a prominent Rotterdam family of the 1930s who were converts to Modernism.

The Garden Museum – tells the story of British gardens and gardening, and holds over 9000 objects.

Lotherton Hall – an Edwardian country house set in parkland

National Trust – the National Trust looks after over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

National Trust for Scotland – the National Trust for Scotland is the conservation charity that protects and promotes Scotland′s natural and cultural heritage.

Nordiska Museet, Stockholm – Sweden′s largest museum of cultural history includes several period rooms as well as the Set Tables displays showing 500 years of table settings.

Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA), Middlesex University – MoDA′s collections relate to the visual culture of the ‘ordinary’ domestic interior, from the late nineteenth- to the mid-twentieth century.

St Fagans: National History Museum – one of Europe′s largest open-air museums, over 40 original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland.

Victoria & Albert Museum – V&A South Kensington is the world′s greatest museum of art and design. Collections include ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewellery, metalwork, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings.

Waddesdon Manor, Historic House and Garden – Waddesdon Manor was built (1874-1889) by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his outstanding collection of art treasures and to entertain the fashionable world.

Wallace Collection – home to one of Europe′s finest collections of art, paintings, furniture, arms & armour and porcelain.

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum – the leading museum of historic buildings in England

The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester – holds an internationally significant collection of wallpaper, ranging from 17th century simple patterns to new additions from the present day.

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, USA – the Museum collection includes 85,000 artefacts and works of art made or used in America to 1860, with a strong emphasis on domestic life.


The Carpet Museum Trust Archive Centre, Kidderminster – holds historical records relating to the carpet industry dating from the 18th century to the present day.

Economic Botany Collection, Kew Gardens – the Economic Botany Collection at Kew is a reference collection that illustrates the extent of human use of plants around the world. The huge variety of objects ranges from artefacts made from plants, to raw plant materials including a large collection of wood samples.

London Metropolitan Archives – the City of London′s own archives and historical material about the Square Mile.

Mass Observation Archive, University of Sussex – the Mass Observation Archive is a unique primary historical resource which specialises in material about everyday life in Britain.

University of Leeds Library Special Collections – The Cookery Collection – the collection is mainly concerned with British cookery, with the earliest book dating to 1487.  A consistent feature of the collection is its inclusion of long sequences of editions of outstandingly popular works, for example there are 26 different editions of Elizabeth Raffald′s The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769 – 1834).

Wellcome Library – the Wellcome Library  is founded on the collections formed by Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853- 1936), whose primary collecting interest was the history of medicine, which he interpreted in an extremely broad manner, including not only ancillary subjects like alchemy and witchcraft, but also anthropology and ethnography.

Westminster City Archives – the collections of business records reflect the wide range of commercial activity that has been undertaken in Westminster.

Collections Catalogues

Connected Histories: Sources for Building British History, 1500-1900 – Connected Histories will create a federated search facility for a wide range of distributed digital resources relating to early modern and nineteenth-century British history. In total, Connected Histories will provide access to 14 major databases of primary source texts, 87,000 maps and images and 254,000 individuals in databases.

Culture Grid – the Culture Grid is a new and unique online service from the Collections Trust helping to open up UK collections for the benefit of everyone. Search within UK collections to see what′s there.

Geffrye Museum Search the Collections – search for objects by name, date, associations, materials or themes.

Historic Houses Trust, Australia – Museum Collections Catalogue – the catalogue includes photographs and descriptions of domestic furnishings from the 19th century to the present day. The four categories currently searchable through the Collections Catalogue are: floor coverings, garden ornament, wall coverings and door hardware.

V&A Search the Collections – search for over 1,000,000 works from the V&A′s collections, including ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, metalwork, paintings, photographs, print, sculpture and textiles.

Universities and Research Centres

Centre for Studies of Home – The Centre was launched in February 2011 and is a partnership between the Geffrye Museum of the Home and Queen Mary, University of London.

Domestic space: an interdisciplinary research site on houses, homes and gardens – a project within the Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, the site includes an extensive, searchable bibliography, an international events calendar and a collection of useful links.

The Modern Interiors Research Centre (MIRC), Kingston University – MIRC acts as a dynamic focus for research within the disciplines of Design History, Architectural History, and Visual, Material and Spatial Culture, on the subject of the design of interiors of the ‘modern’ period (defined as 1870 to 1970).

NET-HERITAGE Observatory – the NET-HERITAGE Observatory pilot web portal has been set up by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in response to the fragmentation and distributed nature of the European Research effort. The aim of the Observatory is to disseminate research and information on heritage science.

RCA/V&A Programme in the History of Design

Surface Tensions Research Cluster, University for the Creative Arts – Surface Tensions is a research cluster based at Rochester, with the aim of inspiring and drawing together research into the material qualities of designed objects, including fashion and textiles.

Networks, Societies and Specialist Groups

Dress and Textile Specialists (DATS) – DATS aims to provide links and mutual support for professionals working with specialist collections of fashion, dress and textiles and with wider museum collections that include these materials.

The Ephemera Society – the Ephemera Society is concerned with the collection, preservation, study and educational uses of hand-written and printed ephemera.

The Furniture History Society – the FHS was founded in 1964 to study furniture of all periods, places and kinds, to increase knowledge and appreciation of it, and to assist in the preservation of furniture and its records.

The London Shh… Alliance – London Shh… is a collection of six of the city′s hidden gems – small historic houses which tell the stories of famous former residents. The group formed in 2008 and include the Freud and Handel House Museums, Dr Johnson′s, Kelmscott and Benjamin Franklin Houses and Burgh House and Hampstead Museum.

Museum Ethnographers Group (MEG) – MEG is a registered charity and Subject Specialist Network devoted to the study of ethnography.

Our Place Network – Our Place is for people who work in broadening access to heritage. It is an online space where you can network with peers, share and be inspired by project case studies and discuss the challenges facing you today.

Social History Curators Group – The Social History Curators Group was formed to improve the status and provision of social history in museums and the standards of collections, research, display and interpretation.

Visible in Stone – English Heritage has launched a new portal that charts the history of women through the buildings where they lived and worked between 1850 – 1950.

Walled Kitchen Gardens Network – the Network brings together an informal group of national organisations and individual experts. The site includes a directory of gardens, publications and details of the Network′s Advisory Services.

Yorkshire Country House Partnership – the Yorkshire Country House Partnership is a collaborative venture between the University of York and seven country houses in Yorkshire.


Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture (Berg) brings together the best critical work on the analysis of all types of spaces. The journal sets out to challenge divisions between theory and practice and aims to provide an essential forum for all theose with an interest in the design, history and meaning of interiors.

Home Cultures (Berg) is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the critical understanding of the domestic sphere, its artifacts, spaces and relations, across timeframes and cultures. it explores the relationship between body and building, consumption, material culture, the meaning of home, moving cultures and social consequences of planning and architecture.

For information about the paintings used as header images for this blog, please click on the links below to The Geffrye’s Search the Collections pages:


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