Quiet and serene, Hughes House on the Oregon Coast was the home of a large and happy family. It is now a museum, filled with living history.
It is always sobering to enter the house of a family that no longer lives there, a house that is now a museum and no longer a home. In the case of Hughes House, the furniture and clothing and accoutrements of everyday life used by the family that lived there for generations, are collected and placed in the home, giving a sense that we are walking into the house at the end of a long day, and dinner will shortly be served in the dining room.
When you can, you escape the group of tourists following the guide and head off onto your own – up the stairs and to the bedrooms, and though they are roped off, as you stand at the doorway you imagine what it would be like to walk through that doorway, to set your shoes under the bed, to sit on the rocking chair next to the window and look out into the yard below.
The sounds of the people downstairs turn into a hum that could be nothing more than conversation from your family as they, too, enter the house and prepare for the evening ahead.
Places like Hughes House are an invaluable connection to a time that is not very long past, but because of the explosion of technology – much of it more intrusive than positive – the distant past seems long ago indeed – a time when there was no constant buzzing of the cell phone, the revving of engines, the beat of rock music that thumps its way through the walls.
Hughes House reminds us that it is humanity – and not the technology that it creates and imposes upon itself – that is worth celebrating, worth remembering, worth treasuring and protecting.
Featured in six Fine Art America groups.
June 6th, 2017
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