The Role of the House Museum

When someone says the word “museum”, they probably think of the historic house museums they have visited throughout their community. The National Trust for Historic Preservation previously estimated that there are more than 15,000 historic house museums across the country. To put that in perspective, there are more small house museums than McDonald’s in the country.

Every historic house museum is a little different. There are museums like the Historic Wicoff House Museum that cater to local history. There are historic house museums of well-known names like George Washington’s Estate at Mount Vernon. In all their different shapes and sizes, the historic house museum always has the same role, to bring history to its community.  Every historic house museum as the opportunity to become a fundamental part of their community.

Here at the Wicoff House Museum we are able to collect, preserve, display and educate on local history that would otherwise be likely lost. The Wicoff House Museum has been able to successfully immerse itself in the Plainsboro community. Through the museum’s Youth Advisory Council the Wicoff House Museum has become a place for local teens to be inspired, involved and innovative. The Youth Advisory Council helps plan museum events, play a vital role in projects and completed summer internships at the museum.

The Youth Advisory Council breathes life into the Wicoff House Museum. A lot of small house museums do not get the opportunity that the Wicoff House Museum has to be so involved in the community. Many small museums struggle to bring in crowds especially younger visitors and volunteers. But a museum that does not continue to change and improve cannot remain a key player in its community.

That’s where you, the reader of this blog can help. Let us know how we can better reach more in the community. Call or email us and tell us your ideas. Attend one of our upcoming events and tell us what you liked and did not like during the event. Join the Youth Advisory Council if you’re a pre-teen or teen. If you’re out of your teens join our Friends of Wicoff House volunteer group. The future of the small house museum is not in the museum’s collections but in the community.