Fall 2020 Publication for Second Edition New Solutions for House Museums Anticipated

Donna Ann Harris


We spent all of 2019 working to complete our manuscript for the second edition of New Solutions for Historic House Museums: Ensuring the Long-Term Preservation of America’s Historic Houses.    Our manuscript was submitted to Rowman & Littlefield Publishers in November 2019.


Over the last dozen years, New Solutions for House Museums has become an important textbook used in scores of graduate school programs across the country that are preparing the next generation of house museum curators and historic site managers. Our  book provides advice for future museum professionals and ten proven “solutions” for historic site boards that need new uses or users to assure that their landmark is preserved for future generations.


Our substantially enlarged and expanded second edition showcases 17 case studies of both well-known and newer historic house museum organizations in the U.S. and Canada. All of these sites  made a successful transition to a new use or user to save the historic house. We bring our reader up to date on the book’s ten original case studies and show others how they have navigated the change to an alternative use or a new user to enhance their landmark property.


To broaden and deepen the impact of the book for a second edition, seven new case studies have been added. The new case studies reinforce the book’s central argument that not every historic house museum whether founded 100 years ago or last month, can be sustained long-term. Three of the new case studies are diverse historic sites, showcasing how African American, women (The Alice Paul Institute in Mt. Laurel NJ pictured here) and other minority focused historic sites are pioneering new ways to commemorate their histories and interpreting fascinating stories with the end goal of creating financially sustainable historic sites that are relevant to their audiences.


The new edition adds two new reuse options to the eight introduced in the first edition and describes how to identify and implement each of the reuse decisions. There is a new chapter-long interview with Tom Mayes, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, on recent on legal and ethical issues facing historic sites. Another new chapter provides advice on the essential role of the historic site’s Board of Directors as the decision makers for any reuse exploration. The second edition of New Solutions for House Museums contains a new introduction and an updated conclusion, bibliography, and index. We are so excited to see this book project move ahead.  Buy the first edition here:   The second edition will be available in Fall 2020.