Category Archives: House

Liberace Museum

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The Liberace Museum, now closed, is our Museum of the Day for Tuesday, January 14, 2014.

“Behind the Candelabra,” an HBO feature film that earned Michael Douglas a Golden Globe this past Sunday, features the star as the famed pianist and Liberace’s partner, Scott Thorson, is portrayed by Matt Damon. The museum closed in 2010 due to economic struggles, and the exhibits never “came out” with the truth about the nature of Liberace’s relationship with Thorson.

Liberace himself opened the museum on April 15, 1979. His brother George became the director. The museum was part of the Liberace Plaza, where his restaurant was also located. The museum had two buildings: The Jewelry and Costume Gallery, and the other building where the pianos and cars were showcased.

On October 17, 2010, the Liberace Museum closed “indefinitely, but not forever” according to Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jeffrey Koep. The closure was announced due to economic downturn and a decline in the number of visitors. A tour of the Liberace collection is planned. The museum’s board of directors is continuing to seek a new home for the museum on Las Vegas strip, but the efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.

As of 2013, the Liberace Foundation was exhibiting the collection at temporary exhibitions. As of December 2013, the Foundation was exhibiting Liberace’s collection at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in an exhibition titled “Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful: Liberace and the Art of Costume.”

Here’s a YouTube clip that shows the museum collections

It is said that megastars like Elton John, Boy George and even Lady Gaga can attribute their artistic flamboyancy to Liberace. Perhaps with the new HBO film, Liberace’s legacy will be revived and the museum can find a more suitable venue that will re-engage old fans and bring in new audiences.

Further reading: http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2010/sep/10/liberace-museum-closing-final-day-operation-longtm/

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Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

travel_miami_vizcayaFriday is time to add another Museum of the Day from Florida! Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a beautiful historic home completed in 1921 in the Bay of Biscay, Miami.

Vizcaya was created as James Deering’s subtropical winter home in the 1910s and today it is a National Historic Landmark and accredited museum. Deering was the son of William Deering and together with his half-brother, Charles, they formed the Deering Harvester company in Evanston, Illinois (later known as International Harvester).

Deering, a “confirmed bachelor” all of his life, employed Paul Chalfin, a flamboyant and publicly gay designer, to make sure that the building was a lavish home full of rich architectural elements imported from across Europe, with a distinct taste for Italian renaissance and baroque features.

When visiting Miami, this is a “must see” attraction. The audio tour is available in 5 languages, making it one of the most accessible museums to the international tourists to Florida. The website includes a fantastic video documentary narrated by Andy Garcia.

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Auburn Museum & Historic Home

stairToday, I celebrate the Historic House Museum, one of my favorite and often most neglected types of museum. Auburn is located in beautiful Natchez, Mississippi.

As a National Historic Landmark, Auburn has quite a story to tell.  It was the first major building in Natchez to follow an actual architectural plan.  In the years leading to the Civil War several Natchez homes emulated the style of Auburn’s facade.  The home’s spiral staircase stands entirely unsupported, a feat unmatched even in modern buildings.  These points introduce you to the dramatic story of Auburn itself.

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