Getting to know famous people through their (now historic) houses
What makes a house a home is personal. It’s stuff, the flotsam and jetsam of a life well lived, creating a portrait that a stark museum can’t conjure. Each of these five house museums deliver that insight, painting a picture of who lived there in fascinating detail.
The cornflower abode, in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City, reveals the artist in startling ways. In the house where she was born, died and (sometimes) lived with her husband, Diego Rivera, you’ll see paintings including the “Cesarean Operation,” clothing attesting to her diminutive frame, and the crutches, corsets and medicines that ruled her life after the horrific bus accident that scarred her at age 18.
Info: 247 Londres, Colonia del Carmen, Mexico City; bit.ly/kahlobluehousemuseum. Admission about $13.
The adobe home, 48 miles northwest of Santa Fe, was Georgia O’Keeffe’s working residence from 1945 until 1984; the views from the windows mirror many of her paintings. Small things, such as her collection of cookbooks and hats perched on a dresser, bring O’Keeffe into clear relief.
Info: 21120H U.S. 84, Abiquiú, N.M.; bit.ly/abiquiuhometour. Admission $40, $35 ages 6-18
This desert retreat of philanthropist and diplomat Walter Annenberg and his wife Lenore is now a meeting place where world leaders can convene. Take a 90-minute house tour to see a collection of letters from Queen Elizabeth, the twin beds where Ronald and Nancy Reagan laid their heads, and the fireplace that was the backdrop for Frank Sinatra’s wedding to Barbara in 1976.
Info: 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; sunnylands.org. $48
Liberace Museum Collection
Only in Vegas would Liberace’s glittering costumes find a home in Michael Jackson’s old digs. Take a tour to see the King of Bling’s hall of mirrors, countless crystal chandeliers, gold pianos and Rolls-Royces studded with rhinestones.
Info: 5115 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas; bit.ly/liberacemuseumcollection.
$129.95 for curator-led house tour, $24.95 for garage only
Known for his low-key musings, Will Rogers was an American folk hero, media pundit, writer, actor, cowboy and entertainer. His fireside wisdom can be channeled at his ranch, now a state historic park, with a polo field, stables, hiking paths and rustic lodge. Check out the life-size statue of Rogers on a horse.
Info: 1501 Will Rogers State Park Road, Pacific Palisades; willrogersranchfoundation.org. Free to tour; $12 to park.
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