The World's Most Extraordinary Rooms
August 18, 2008 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Strange as it might sound, I am compiling a list of rooms. I am eager to draw upon the travels, explorations, and creative minds of metafilter to help flesh out the list.

The main criterion is that the room should have been used for a purpose at one point, and not be used now. In other words, the room (or space) must be frozen in a moment. Along the lines of the rooms in this post:

This means that the field is gloriously open- I am including everything from Trotsky's house in Mexico, Freud's library in London, and Anne Frank's Annex to the Hareem in Topkapi palace, the reconstructed Amber Room, Pompeii, and preserved rooms in Chernobyl.

And then there's Churchill's War Room, the Stasi Chief's Office in Berlin, and more and more and more. The rooms can be personal or impersonal, and they don't have to involve famous people or empires. I'd be especially interested in suggestions located in non-Western countries.

Thank you so much for any and all suggestions!
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Society & Culture (27 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Norman Rockwell's studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
posted by mkb at 7:28 AM on August 18, 2008

In the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, there are the rooms (transplanted, I think) of several Parisian writers, including Marcel Proust.
posted by nasreddin at 7:30 AM on August 18, 2008

Here's a better view (use the scrollbar).
posted by nasreddin at 7:31 AM on August 18, 2008

Hemingway's Writing Studio in Key West
posted by junkbox at 7:46 AM on August 18, 2008

I used to sit in the Peacock Room in the Freer and study when I was in law school. The Peacock Room was once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy shipowner from Liverpool, England, designed by Thomas Jeckyll, decorated by James McNeill Whistler. The feud between Leyland & Whistler is legendary.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:55 AM on August 18, 2008

Lyon's Center of Deportation and Resistance used to be the place where Lyon's gestapo, under Klaus Barbi, tortured resisters and undesirables (Jews etc.). While most of the building is a museum, at least one of the dungeons is still empty and is 'frozen in time.'
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:11 AM on August 18, 2008

The Soane may fit your criteria, also, Edna St. Vincent Millay's house Steepletop.
posted by gudrun at 8:18 AM on August 18, 2008

In the UK we have a few ex-cold war "secret bunkers" like this one. They were command centres for national government in the event of a nuclear strike.
posted by rongorongo at 8:23 AM on August 18, 2008

There are the abandoned "ghost" stations in the NYC subway system.
posted by kimdog at 8:57 AM on August 18, 2008

are you interested in "recreations"? if so, there's hdt's cabin at walden pond.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:08 AM on August 18, 2008

there's also the alhambra in spain. it's a tourist attraction now, but so are most of the things people are listing. does that defeat your "not in use now" clause?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:11 AM on August 18, 2008

Edgar Allen Poe's room at the University of Virginia, where he was briefly a student.
posted by LionIndex at 9:18 AM on August 18, 2008

The Diefenbunker?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:40 AM on August 18, 2008

Francis Bacon's studio: In 1998, the artist's studio was donated to the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin, Ireland who painstakingly transferred the walls, floor, ceiling etc. along with over 7000 individual items and recreated the room within the gallery.
posted by unbearablylight at 9:44 AM on August 18, 2008

The Painted Gallery in the Caves at Lascaux in France.

Ok, perhaps a cave is not the kind of conventional room you were thinking of, but it's frozen in time (16,000 years ago). It was used for a purpose and while there are theories, nobody knows what the purpose was with any real confidence.
posted by pines at 10:23 AM on August 18, 2008

Napoleon's apartment in the Louvre
posted by platinum at 10:35 AM on August 18, 2008

Mark Twain's writing / snooker room at the Mark Twain house in Hartford ,CT
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:39 AM on August 18, 2008

The Kam Wah Chung museum in John Day, Oregon is a fascinating snapshot of what was once the hub of the Chinese-American community in a frontier town.
posted by mumkin at 10:50 AM on August 18, 2008

Response by poster: Aamzing. I had no idea. Brilliant and thanks thus far, keep them coming if you can...
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:04 AM on August 18, 2008

William Faulkner's Rowan Oak (Oxford, MS) is pretty interesting. He wrote plotlines for a novel on the walls of his study, pretty cool to see.
posted by saucy at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aaron Spelling's gift wrapping room.
posted by charlesv at 11:07 AM on August 18, 2008

David Rodinsky's room could do with a dusting.
posted by Dr.Pill at 12:19 PM on August 18, 2008

The Worcester (MA) Art Museum has a French Medieval Chapter House. I think a lot of art museums have rooms that have been assembled in them.
posted by Biblio at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2008

Oh man, this isn't an answer, but if you're interested in this you should see Fritz Lang's Secret Beyond the Door (1948), which includes a character who physically collects preserved rooms, as well as much creepiness and pseudopsychoanalysis.
posted by bubukaba at 10:01 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone- and thanks, bubukaba, for that Lang reference- I'd never heard of the movie.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:40 AM on August 19, 2008

Not a single room as such, but the 3 story bunker of Erich Honecker north of Berlin is certainly worthwhile to see while you can - 2 months yet until they burry it forever!
posted by KimG at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: Uncanny! I'm touring the Honecker bunker on Monday.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 2:01 AM on August 20, 2008

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