What would our historic sites look like if we completely threw out the traditional historic house model and tried truly out-of-the-box thinking to engage visitors? The idea is being tested at the Historic House Trust of New York City.

The concept, called The Anarchist Guide to Historic House Museums, was developed by Franklin Vagnone and Deborah E. Ryan. It calls for the holistic reexamination of the current historic house museum model and the establishment of a paradigm from the perspective of human habitation.

While the ideas followed in The Anarchist Guide are not for every historic house (nor should they be), the concept is a great one to discuss and consider how change can be good to reinvigorate our historic sites.

Franklin Vagnone, co-presenter of the webinar, serves as Executive Director of the Historic House Trust of New York City. As such, he has instituted a community-based perspective toward guiding the institution, creating and encouraging initiatives that unite all 23 houses and promote them as a community resource. Franklin has significant professional experience in preservation, architecture, design, landscape architecture, archive formation & management, and a deep appreciation and understanding of non-profit organizations.

Deborah Ryan, webinar co-presenter, is a nationally recognized expert on civic engagement and the use of the Web 2.0 in the community planning process. She is the author of Small Town Fit: Healthy People Places and Policies, What’s Right About Our Region: Authentic Urbanism in the Carolinas, and currently under contract with Left Coast Press to write the Anarchist Guide to Historic House Museums with Frank Vagnone. Professor Ryan holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from North Carolina State University, and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University, where she also served on the faculty.

Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and moderated by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion.

Historic House Calls are free and only open to AASLH members.