59 mid century and modern historic house museums that you can visit

59 historic mid-century houses you can visit -- researched by retrorenovation-com-staging.enwf9w61-liquidwebsites.com

Gordon House FLW 1957 Silverton, OR Eugene O'Neill House 1937 Danville, CA Schindler House 1922 West Hollywood, CA Eames House 1949 Pacific Palisades, CA Stahl House 1959 Hollywood, CA Neutra VDL House 1933, Los Angeles, CA Hollyhock House FLW 1917 Los Angeles, CA Leo Carillo Ranch 1937 Carlsbad, CA Sinatra Twin Palms 1947 Palm Springs, CA Elvis’ Honeymoon House 1960 Palm Springs, CA Sunnylands 1966 Rancho Mirage, CA Clark Co. Museum Heritage Street Henderson, NV Morelli House 1959, Las Vegas, NV Taliesin West FLW 1939 Scottsdale, AZ Georgia O’Keefe Home/Studio renovated 1945, Abiquiu, NM Barton County Museum Lustron Home Great Bend, KS Allen-Lambe House FLW 1915 Wichita, KS LBJ Ranch Remodeled 1951 Stonewall, TX Wilson House 1959 Temple, TX 1950s All Electric House 1954 Shawnee, KS Winston Guest House 1982 Owatonna, MN Stockman House FLW 1908 Mason City, IA Taliesin 1911 FLW Spring Green, WI Murihead Farmhouse B&B FLW early 1950s Hampshire IL Fabyan Villa & Japanese Garden FLW 1907 Geneva, IL Dana-Thomas House FLW 1940 Springfield, IL Graceland remodeled 1957 Memphis, TN Rolling Meadows 1953 Ranch Replica Rolling Meadows, IL Farnsworth House 1951 Plano, IL Bradley House FLW 1900 Kankakee, IL Frank Lloyd Wright walking tour Oak Park, IL Robie House FLW 1910 Chicago, IL Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio 1889/1898 Chicago, IL Emil Bach House FLW 1910 Chicago, IL Miller House 1953 Columbus, IN Rosenbaum House FLW 1939 Florence, AL Alden B. Dow Home & Studio 1941 Midland, MI Saarinen House 1920s Bloomfield Hills, MI Dymaxion House 1946 Dearborn, MI Weltzheimer/Johnson House FLW 1948 Oberlin, OH Ohio Historical Society Lustron Home Columbus, Ohio Carl Sandburg Home 1838 Flat Rock, NC Kentuk Knob FLW 1956 Chalk Hill, PA Fallingwater FLW 1935 Mill Run, PA Martin House Complex FLW 1903-1905 Buffalo, NY Graycliff FLW 1926-1931 Derby, NY Shoe House 1948 York, PA Eisenhower National Historic Site 1950 Gettysburg, PA Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens remodeled 1955 Washington, DC Pope-Leighey House FLW 1940 Alexandria, VA Wharton Esherick Museum 1926 Malvern, PA Russel Wright’s Manitoga & Dragon Rock 1961 Garrison, NY Guest House, Field Farm 1960 Williamstown, MA Frelinghuysen Morris House 1930-1942, Lennox, MA Philip Johnson Glass House 1949 New Canaan, CT Louis Armstrong House Museum 1910 remodeled 1940s, Queens, NY Pollock/Krasner House & Study Center 1879 East Hampton, NY Gropius House 1938 Lincoln, MA Zimmerman House FLW 1950 Manchester, NH

Historic house museums aren’t just for Early American revolutionaries, pioneer settlers or Victorians any more. Yes, as appreciation for mid-20th century architecture has grown, so has the number of historic house museums. Kate and I have been working for several weeks to research and prepare what we believe is the first conclusive list of mid-century and modern historic house museums that you can visit and see. In the USA. In your Chevrolet, even.

Our list includes 59 mid century and modern house museums. A number of these are iconic, architect-designed “mid-century modern” masterpiece houses. But we also were somewhat liberal in including other early- and mid-20th historic houses that played key roles in the evolution of mid century residential architecture and the “modern” way we still live today. There are quite a few houses by Frank Lloyd Wright that fall into our “extremely influential” but not really “mid-century” category, for example.

Houses generally become “historic” for one of two reasons (or both): (1) Their architecture is special, or (2) Someone historic lived there. Reflecting this, the houses in our roundup are there for a variety of reasons — and we believe this diversity helps illuminate the story of mid-century America. In addition to the houses that are important examples of mid century and modern residential architecture, our list includes celebrity houses where Elvis, Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong lived… a number of “biographical” houses including from Russel Wright, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jackson Pollock and Louise Krasner… There are two presidential estates… and we dug and dug and dug to find two Lustron houses open to the public! We take the research all the way to one “post modern” house, a 1982 design by Frank Gehry. Don’t be harassing us, please, if you don’t like the way we sliced and diced the list; be nice; we were trying to show the love for 20th century modern and modern-esque houses that haven’t quite made it onto others’ formal lists yet. Also, we started to get cross-eyed after a while of hashing what’s “in” the list and “what’s out”. We kinda wanted to be done already.

Readers, did we miss any mid century or modern historic house museums?
If so, please let us know!
In all cases, the houses had to be open for tours. Some are open all the time. Some require reservations. So call ahead. Our map is interactive — hover over any of the dots to see the name and year of the house. Click on the dot to get to either the house’s website or, if we’ve written about the house, the link will take you to our story. With our stories, we always try to get lots of great photos — more than you are likely to see on the house’s website.

Read all our spotlight stories
with lots of “bonus” photos you won’t find on the house websites
by clicking here.

 

  1. Amy says:

    Boy, I am bummed…nothing in the Rocky Mountain west where I am…but. But! There is a wonderful museum in Denver, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art which has within it, Vance Kirkland’s (1904-1981) original painting studio, which is full of his own tschotchkes from the 20th century. And the museum itself is dedicated to 20th century decorative arts. http://www.kirklandmuseum.org/

  2. Joel says:

    Florida has no house museums on this list, but it does have a university designed by Frank Lloyd Wright — Florida Southern University — with the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings anywhere in the world (10 plus 2 structures). And it’s open to the public. Here’s a website about it:

    http://franklloydwrightatfsc.com/

  3. susan Rooney says:

    If you ever update your list I have a wonderful addition! The Rolling Meadows Historical Museum. Visitors who enter the house will feel they have been transported through time to the actual home of a 1950s Rolling Meadows homemaker. The Historical Museum was designed as a replica of the 1st ranch-style homes constructed in the community by Rolling Meadows founder Kimball Hill in 1953. Displays of donated historical documents, photos, and finishings of the 1950s era are combined to create authentic interior spaces within the home. LOVE THIS BLOG!!!

  4. Lisa says:

    LBJ RANCH – STONEWALL, TX – The National Park Service is temporarily closing the Texas White House and the adjacent Pool House until further notice due to health and safety concerns arising from structural issues. Both facilities are located within Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. (Hope it’s preserved!)

  5. My former family home since 1949 isn’t a museum for tours–but in the past 10 years it is a house museum that you can sleep in that reflects the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

  6. Marie says:

    https://ricenorthwestmuseum.org/

    While this is a rock and mineral museum (and an amazing one), it is in a home built in 1952 by the founders. At that time the collection was in the basement, now it’s in all the rooms. There are amazing bathrooms in lovely colors (the pink!). The volunteers have always been accommodating in showing off the bathrooms and kitchen, that don’t have the collection in them.

    There’s a virtual tour on their site that shows off some of the house, but sadly not the kitchen and bathrooms.

  7. Anne says:

    Sarasota, Florida has a fantastic collection of Mid Century Modern homes that were designed by the “Sarasota School”. The Sarasota Architectural Foundation does a great job with routine tours, lectures, and conferences of homes and buildings designed by Paul Rudolph, Ralph Twitchell, Gene Lundy, as well as others from that era. This past November they celebrated the work of Paul Rudolph in their Mod Weekend.

    https://sarasotaarchitecturalfoundation.org/sarasotaschool

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