“Anarchist’s Guide To Historic House Museums”


 Online Ordering


Co-authored by life-long collaborators and friends Deb Ryan & Franklin Vagnone 

Now, in its seventh printing since its initial release in November 2015, The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums (Published by Left Coast Press, a company now owned by Routledge, 2015) was named by Amazon as the #1 New Release in Museum Studies (Oct., Nov., Dec. 2015) and voted the #1 Museum Education Book of 2015 by the Museum Education Monitor, and as of February 2016 – the book is the #1 best seller on Amazon (Museum Industry Related).



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“…the Anarchist’s Guide is a timely reminder to think long and hard about what and who museums are for, and about what expertise this requires. Connoisseurship alone does not a great museum make. It is the careful balance of objects, buildings, and people that bring it to life”

Book Review: Apollo International Art Magazine, May 2016 


“Lingering questions aside, the Anarchist’s Guide proves to be an insightful, inspiring, thought-provoking read for anyone working in preservation or related fields. Whether you agree with Vagnone and Ryan or not, there is no denying that the Anarchist’s Guide lives up to its subtitle – “A Ground-Breaking Manifesto.”

Book Review: The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums “A Ground-Breaking Manifesto”, National Trust for Historic Preservation, December 2015 


“It is not overstating the situation to opine that Vagnone and Ryan, in the Anarchist’s Guide, have launched a important campaign for change that might well determine the future of the past by starting a discussion that is long overdue.  And in that fight, I am not only pleased to applaud them, I am happy to join them.  But hold on tight, because the Anarchist’s Guide will send you—and your nearest HHM—on a bumpy ride, if you’re lucky.”

From “A Call to Arms”, Taylor Stoermer, November 2015

“In the meantime I will simply say that if your job involves engaging a diverse public in any aspect of material history you’d be crazy not to buy this book.”

From “The Museum Anarchist Toolkit:, A Book Review, Small Museums of Canada, November, 2015

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This is the “Anarchist Guide” self- assessment matrix. It is a constantly evolving planning tool for historic site staff and boards. We devised this so that we could keep aware of all of the various factors at the same time – keeping us honest about our efforts!


The “Anarchist Guide to Historic House Museum” is cited in the historic New York City Landmarks Commission hearing of the Stonewall Inn (remarks by Honorable John Gustafsson).  It was approved as the first LGBTQ dedicated site to be landmarked in NYC.
The Anarchist Guide to Historic House Museums is the basis for presentations that have been facilitated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), the Getty Center (LA), The Peabody Essex Museum (Boston), and a panel discussion with National thought leaders at The Museum of the City of New York . The book has been chosen as primary text for a collection of public history and museum studies courses at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, New York University , Brown University, UNCC,  and the University of Delaware.   Vagnone has been consulting with  major historic site stewards such as the historic sites for the states of New Jersey, California, as well as a growing list significant private organizations.
Keynote presentations related to Anarchist Guide to Historic House Museums include the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (2016), ICONIC Houses International Conference (2016), International Council of Museums & The National Trust of Australia (2016), National Trust of Canada (2016) and the National Alliance of Small Museums (2015).

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