Your Home Life Is Changing. And It Won’t Be Anything Like You Imagine

Lessons from a Visit to a Museum

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
5 min readDec 3, 2021

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Photo courtesy of author

I am sitting in a museum installation that showcases a 1950s home.

An overdose of drab browns and vintage technologies. The heavy velvet armchair. The art deco cabinet. The valve radio. The reel-to-reel tape recorder. The antique clock.

Everything seems strangely familiar, yet also very distant and alien.

The whole experience triggers memories of my parents’ stories of their childhood.

The old black-and-white television captures my attention. Of course, the picture quality is terrible — unwatchable by today’s standards. Seven inches of blurry grey images.

“Did people live like this?” It seems difficult to imagine.

Yet, I remember my parent’s telling me how — when it first arrived — television instantly became the focal point of their world and transformed their lives. It provided a new means to entertain and educate themselves. Television gave them a reason to stay at home and enjoy family nights together. It brought the outside world into the living room.

My own childhood was spent in a home dominated by television. By then, however, we had color. And the radio — at least as a presence in the living room — had disappeared.

Things are different now. The smartphone is our “go-to” technology. We are never separated from news and entertainment. Our phones are always with us, demanding to be used. A constant presence wherever we are. The world in our back pocket.

Whereas in the past, we consumed most content at home, content is available everywhere and anywhere now.

But that doesn’t mean “home” has become less significant. Times have changed, and so has our sense of home.

Simon & Garfunkel

Like many people, I suspect, I had started to take home for granted pre-pandemic. I only thought about home when I traveled for business. Then I often wished I was homeward bound.

When I was away from home, I longed for home. Home was “the place where my thought’s escapin’, where my music’s playin’, where my love lies waitin’

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Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.