DEMHIST LogoDEMHIST is an ICOM International Committee focusing on the conservation and management of house museums. Its name is an abbreviation of the French term “demeures historiques”. House museums range from castles to cottages, from all periods. The interpretation of house museums includes historic, architectural, cultural, artistic and social information.


DEMHIST holds conferences and maintains a website to help provide a professional platform for sharing ideas and solutions. Its goals include the development of standards for conservation, restoration and security of house museums as well as helping develop communications with other professionals and visitors of house museums. Further concerns are the ways to improve community relations while increasing visibility and tourism.


DEMHIST came into being in Palazzo Spinola in Genoa, in 1997, during the conference “Living History. Historic House Museums”

During this conference, for the first time, the need was expressed for a specific ICOM committee devoted to this particular category of museums. The participants signed a petition which the ICOM-Italy president, Giovanni Pinna, submitted to the 1998 ICOM General Conference in Melbourne where it was accepted and ratified.

A few days later the new committee held its first meeting and chose the name “Historic House Museums/Demeures historiques-musées/Residencias Históricas-Museo” as well as the acronym DEMHIST (from the French version). The Committee first gathered in July 1999 in St Petersburg where the first board was elected and the committee regulations were approved.

Over the years, more and more organisations have joined DEMHIST; Today we have over 600 members with Historic House Museums across the world. Each year, they meet to raise and discuss professional issues.