Real estate long ago… This is a photo of ten men building a wood frame house at the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska, circa. 1877. The black-and-white photograph was taken by William Henry Jackson, and is provided courtesy The National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution to the Elmhurst History Museum for its House & Home Exhibition, which opens April 7.

New exhibition tours America’s residential landscape at History Museum

Home. It’s where we all come from. Whether we have lived in military barracks or college dormitories; in rental apartments or condos; in public housing or gated communities; in trailer parks or row houses—where we live is home. But the word “home” also reminds us of where we grew up and the type of house we dream about and work toward.

Over time, Americans have lived in all kinds of places for all kinds of reasons. This spring, Elmhurst History Museum invites the public on a tour of America’s rich history of residential architecture in a traveling exhibit from the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. entitled “House & Home.” The exhibit embarks on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, to explore the varied history and many cultural meanings of the American home. “House & Home” provides a national story with a personal focus, exploring the remarkable transformations in technology, laws, and consumer culture that have brought about enormous change in American domestic life.

“House & Home” opens at the Elmhurst History Museum, located at 120 E. Park Ave. in Elmhurst, on April 7 through May 25, 2017. The exhibit is made possible through the National Endowment for the Humanities’ NEH on the Road initiative, and is organized by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and is toured by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Local sponsors include Elmhurst 255 Downtown Apartments and L.W. Reedy Real Estate.

Exhibit Highlights

“House & Home” tells the story of American architecture through a kaleidoscopic array of artifacts, video, photographs, and construction models. The exhibit encourages visitors to explore how our ideal of the perfect house and our experience of what it means to “be at home” have changed over time. Items such as domestic furnishings, home construction materials, photographs, hands-on interactive components, and films contribute to the story.

The exhibition also showcases domestic objects—from cooking utensils to telephones—and traces how household goods tell the stories of our family traditions, heritage and the activity of daily living. Another key section of “House & Home” explores how different laws, historic trends and economic factors have impacted housing in America.


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