The “period rooms” installed in many museums are always the first place I go, but as I often find myself wandering about alone, I’m not surprised that there are efforts afoot to instill a bit more life into them. Our major museum here in Salem, the Peabody Essex Museum, doesn’t even have period rooms even though I believe that its predecessor, the Essex Institute, pioneered such installations with its George Francis Dow-designed rooms from a century ago. The PEM owns entire historic houses, however, so one can certainly understand the reluctance to consign precious exhibition space to static rooms. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston retains its period rooms, and has just added a seventeenth-century English drawing room to their assemblage of suites.

I know of a several projects aimed at revitalizing period rooms from the past few years, but there must be many more. Just recently…

View original post 494 more words