House & Home

What makes a house a home?

Throughout American history, people have lived in all sorts of places, from military barracks and two-story colonials to college dormitories and row houses. Drawn from the flagship installation at the National Building Museum, House & Home 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.

The NEH on the Road version of House & Home draws on themes originated by the National Building Museum to encourage 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. The exhibition includes domestic furnishings and home construction materials, photographs, “please touch” interactive components, and films. Together, the objects and images illustrate how transformations in technology, government policy, and consumer culture have impacted American domestic life.

House & Home presents an overview of architecture styles and living patterns that have been featured in American homes over the years. Quotes, toys, and other graphic advertising materials prompt visitors to think about the different ideas embodied in the words “house” and “home.” 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. The American Dream, once more generally seen as an aspiration to prosperity, grew in the 20th Century to be synonymous with home ownership. Visitors learn about the economy of housing and how homes have been promoted and sold. Issues of housing inequality, land distribution, and the role of the government are examined, from the Colonial period though the Homestead Act and the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in the 1930s; and from the Oklahoma Land Rush to the subprime loan crisis. Related sections of House & Home looks outward, exploring the relationship of the individual house to the larger society by presenting examples of contemporary community development through film.

Video and film features immerse audiences in a nationwide tour of residential buildings and community developments that reflect contemporary trends. From futuristic dormitories to post-Katrina communities built on shared interests in music, the images evoke the experience of residential space and illustrate the evolution and diversity of American domestic architecture, design, and community. In its scope, content, and presentation, House & Home moves beyond the bricks and mortar to challenge our ideas about what it means to be at home in America.

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This exhibition is fully booked. To inquire about a waiting list, e-mail Client Relations at MoreArt (at), or call (800) 473-3872, ext. 208.

  • Sept. 1–Oct. 20, 2013 Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
    St. Bonaventure, NY
  • Nov. 10, 2013–Jan. 7, 2014 Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College
    Bel Air, MD
  • Jan. 28–March 16, 2014 University of Mississippi Museum
    University, MS
  • April 6–May 25, 2014 Main Street Beatrice
    Beatrice, NE
  • June 16–Aug. 11, 2014 Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
    Wichita, KS
  • Sept. 1–Oct. 20, 2014 William F. Laman Public Library
    North Little Rock, AR
  • Nov. 10, 2014–Jan. 7, 2015 Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County
    Moorhead, MN
  • Jan. 28–March 16, 2015 Mercer Museum/Bucks County Historical Society
    Doylestown, PA
  • April 6–May 25, 2015 Braingan Cultural Center
    Las Cruces, NM
  • June 16–Aug. 11, 2015 Living History Farms
    Urbandale, IA
  • Sept. 1–Oct. 20, 2015 West Baton Rouge Museum
    West Baton Rouge, LA
  • Nov. 10, 2015–Jan. 07, 2016 Bell County Museum
    Belton, TX
  • Jan. 28–March 16, 2016 Refurbishment
    Kansas City, MO
  • April 6–May 25, 2016 Brown County Historical Society
    Hiawatha, KS
  • June 16–Aug. 11, 2016 Park City Museum
    Park City, UT
  • Sept. 1–Oct. 20, 2016 William D. Cannon Art Gallery
    Carlsbad, CA
  • Nov. 10, 2016–Jan. 07, 2017 Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center
    Townsend, TN
  • Jan. 28–March 16, 2017 Provo City Library at Academy Square
    Provo, UT
  • April 6–May 25, 2017 Elmhurst Historical Museum
    Elmhurst, IL
  • June 16–Aug. 11, 2017 Bravo Valley Museum of Natural History
    Bryan, TX
  • Sept. 1–Oct. 20, 2017 Gadsden Museum of Fine Arts
    Gadsden, AL
  • Nov. 10, 2017–Jan. 7, 2018 Powers Museum
    Carthage, MO
  • Jan. 28–March 16, 2018 North Dakota Historical Society
    Bismarck, ND
  • April 6–May 25, 2018 Ypsilanti District Library
    Ypsilanti, MI
  • June 16, 2018–Aug. 11, 2018 Idaho State Historical Museum
    Boise, ID

Exhibition Details & Specifications

  • Curated By

    Sarah Levitt, Curator, The National Building Museum

  • Organized By

    The National Building Museum, Washington, DC, in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance
  • Content

    The exhibition includes freestanding display units focused on thematic areas; large-scale immersive components with interactive stations; artifacts including domestic objects, construction materials, toys, and other examples of pop culture; “please touch” components; multiple video features; and additional freestanding and wall-mounted banners and quote graphics.

  • Duration

    7-week display

  • Rental Fee


  • Grant


  • Support

  • Shipping:


  • Security


  • Square Feet


  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    19 crates and 1 tub/7,013 pounds

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by NEH on the Road at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.