Who Once Lived in My House?.. exhibition

Professor Catherine Nash and Dr. Caron Lipman share fascinating insights into a project exploring the often hidden or forgotten histories of people's homes. Photo: David G. Hawkins.

Professor Catherine Nash and Dr. Caron Lipman share fascinating insights into a project exploring the often hidden or forgotten histories of people’s homes. Photo: David G. Hawkins.

A new exhibition is being launched by Queen Mary University of London researchers, exploring the hidden history of the home and how people imagine and engage with the lives of those who lived in their homes before them.

The Geffrye Museum – the Shoreditch museum specialising in the history of the English domestic interior – will host Who Once Lived in My House?’ from Tuesday September 24 2013 to Sunday February 9 2014.

The exhibition will explore some of the things that people have found out about their homes, as places where other people once lived. It will also uncover people’s understandings of and attitudes to their home’s past, from the physical things they inherit – whether it is messages on the walls or a child’s height chart on a doorframe, to their knowledge of previous inhabitants’ class or culture.

Dr. Caron Lipman, one of the researchers comments: “Our exhibition [will feature] some of the past inhabitants of people’s homes, and [look] at how their stories were uncovered. It [will address] some of the complex ways people reflect on the significance of these former residents in order to get a sense of their past and their home.”

Previously, two half-day and full-day workshops were held in March and May 2012 at the museum to provide guidance on how house history research can be carried out for those who were interested in knowing more about the histories of their home, and also providing inspiring accounts of what others have found out in researching the history of their own or other people’s homes.

They were also organised to provide an opportunity to reflect on what it meant to find out about the past of and in people’s own homes, on how it might enrich their sense of history, bring to life the past because of its very personal connection to where they live, and challenge or complicate what they thought of local or wider histories and processes of historical change.

The exhibition is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of Living with the Past At Home: Domestic Pre-habitation and Inheritance, a research project by Professor Catherine Nash, Dr. Lipman, Dr. Alastair Owens and Professor Alison Blunt from Queen Mary’s School of Geography.

Who Once Lived in My House? is located on the Lower Concourse Area of the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, London. The Museum is open 10:00am – 5:00pm, Tuesday – Sunday. Entry is free.

For more information about the Living with the Past at Home research project, visit http://livingwiththepastathome.com/activities/.

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