Museums Special: House calls

Museums come in all shapes and sizes, ambitions and flavors. Yet each and every one has this in common: A museum is a house of culture.

Houses have a particularly prominent place on the Massachusetts museum scene. That’s true year round. The state has more than 150 house museums, and one of the most popular permanent exhibitions at any New England museum has long been the Peabody Essex’s 18th-century Chinese residence, the Yin Yu Tang House.

Houses also loom large this fall, especially for the young and young at heart. “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic,” at the Museum of Fine Arts, has in part been organized to recall the house of the author of the Pooh stories, A.A. Milne, and his family. Also, lest we forget, the second book in the series is, yes, “The House at Pooh Corner.”


Next month, “The Little House: Her Story” opens at the Cape Ann Museum. The exhibition looks at the work of the beloved children’s author (and longtime Gloucester resident) Virginia Lee Burton.

So this year’s Museums Special section pays special attention to houses, but not them alone. After all, it’s important to get out of the house now and then.

Mark Feeney can be reached at