Haunted Intimacy: Spectral and Vital Space within a Historic House Museum

Marisa Karyl Franz


Merchant’s House Museum is haunted. While it functions as a historic house museum in Manhattan, the house remains the home of the Tredwell family who now appear as ghosts. For the museum, these ghosts become animating presences, continuing to keep the everyday things of the house embedded in the intimate space of a family’s home. Throughout this article, I explore how those connected to the house as staff, visitors, and volunteers present the ghosts of the Tredwells and, based on these peoples’ experiences, I examine the Tredwell house within a museological framework of, what I term, haunted intimacy, that keeps the house in vital relation to the family.



ghosts; home; historic house museums; intimacy; haunting

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v19i3.3830

Copyright (c) 2021 Marisa Karyl Franz

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Museum and Society

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