Inside Iconic Houses - Live Online Tour of the Isokon Building and Penthouse!

Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform

Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina

A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo

Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman

Winy Maas on the Green Dip

Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s

Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer

Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism

Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage

Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces

July is Iconic Houses Month

Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!

How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event

Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!

Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970

Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments

Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design


Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck

Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

New Centre for Historic Houses of India

An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

An Afternoon with the Glucks

Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar

Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering

Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra

Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project

We welcome 13 new members!

BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!

LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

Iconic Reads

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

Our Badge of Honour

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

SPECIAL – Iconic Housing

Iconic Houses End Year Message

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk

Renovation Gili House in Crisis

An Iconic Saga

Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies

Modernism on the East Coast

Iconic Houses in Latin America

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico

De Stijl in Drachten

Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio

Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru

Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil

Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition

Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece

In Berlin’s Modernist Network

Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary

Meet Our New Foundation Board Members

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Iconic Dacha

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Follow us!

Documentary La Ricarda

Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld

Barragán House on Screen

Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move

Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open

September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris

June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments

Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook

Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture

Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse

New arrivals: Spain special

MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

14 January 2016

Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists

Frank Vagnone and Deborah Ryan are museum anarchists and co-authors of the Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums. Franklin Vagnone with a strong background in the creative arts, is a public historian who has over 25 years experience in transformational leadership in non-profit management. He is Principal of Twisted Preservation in New York City. His co-author Deborah Ryan is a professor at the College of Arts and Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Frank and Deb will both speak at our conference.

Tell us about your own relationship with significant houses
Frank: I have managed historic sites since 1997, including a large group of historic house museums as Executive Director of the Historic House Trust of New York City. I have also restored five houses, the last of which was demolished one month after it was sold to make way for a newer, bigger house.
Deborah: I have led research teams of advanced architecture students in developing a series of tools to evaluate historic house museums from the visitor’s perspective, and then formulate strategies for tactical interiorism to address the challenges we identified.

Do you have a favourite house?
Frank: Impossible to answer. I see beauty and value in almost everything. I can love a 1652 Dutch cottage or a contemporary interior – I love great design.
Deborah: While I was a senior fellow with the Historic House Trust, I led a project to build and diversify the audience for the Lewis Latimer Historic House Museum in Flushing. It is my favourite house not because of its design, but because of a range of arts and social justice programmes that now attract people to it, and help guests experience the passions of the house’s former inhabitants.

What is the biggest challenge facing historic houses right now?
Frank: As a lover of historic houses, I feel the greatest need is for them to become more fully integrated into the daily life of the communities surrounding them. They need to cease being a beautiful artifact under glass. It’s time to get your hands dirty!
Deborah: My biggest challenge is in getting staff to take a leap of faith, and reassuring them it is okay to fail. We often spend an inordinate amount of time researching alternative ideas, rather than trying them out on our own. But if nobody and nothing is harmed, why not try something new, especially if it makes a visit to a historic house more compelling?

What do you expect from the upcoming Iconic Houses conference at the Getty Center in Los Angeles?

Frank: I think the conference should really be about making connections between people who love and take care of these fragile domestic spaces. We need to learn from each other and allow others to negotiate their own relationship with the sites.
Deborah: In the Anarchist’s Guide, we stress the importance of historic house museums building relationships with social and cultural institutions across their communities so that they can build a wider audience and have a greater impact in their neighbourhood. My expectation is that the conference will lead to the building of stronger relations within the Iconic Houses community.
Frank: To our surprise and delight, it sold out on Amazon in two weeks after its October 30, 2015 release. Amazon listed it as the #1 selling book in Museums and Museum Studies. We are not sure why, but we think it has proven to be so popular is because we are scratching an itch that has been there for a while. Or perhaps, people are hungry for change in the way things have always been done. Either way, we are thrilled that it has gone into a second printing.

Which 21st-century house in New York has the potential to become a future Iconic House, and why?
Frank: New York City or New York State? There are so many. Oddly, the one I think is most interesting is in storage at the Brooklyn Museum. It is the Michael Graves interior, which he designed in 1979 for Susan and John Reinhold.
Deborah: Frank and his partner JohnYeagley’s apartment. It is where so many of the initial ideas for the Anarchist’s Guide were hatched and tested… and just like Francis Bacon’s studio, now relocated to the Dublin City Gallery, it conveys the chaotic genius of the two men who live there.

Frank recommends watching this YouTube video of a ‘Habitation’ research project on his NYC apartment as a warm up for the conference:

And here is a link to Vagnone's Facebook photo albums that show his and Deb Ryan's work in research for the Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums.

One of their best ‘anarchist tags’ (someone has a sense of humor!).

Susan and John Reinhold Apartment, designed by Michael Graves, now in storage at the Brooklyn Museum, 1979-1981. Photograph Courtesy Brooklyn Museum.

Francis Bacon Studio. Photograph by Perry Ogden. Purchased 2001. Collection Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane © The Estate of Francis Bacon.

Publication date 14 January 2016