This paper is an attempt to integrate heritage and museum studies through exploring the complex relationship between the materiality of architecture and social memories with a house museum of return migration in Guangdong, PRC as a case study. It unveils that the ongoing process of memory is intrinsically intertwined with spatial and temporal dimensions of the physical dwelling and built environment and the wider social-historical context and power relations shaping them. I argue that it is the house as ‘object of exhibit’ just as much as the exhibits inside the house that materialises the turbulent and traumatic migratory experience of Returned Overseas Chinese, embodies their memories and exposes the contested nature of museumification. By looking at the socially and geographically marginalised dwelling of return migrants, the house draws people’s attention to the often neglected importance of conceptual periphery in re-theorising what is often assumed to be the core of heritage value. It points to the necessity to integrate displaced, diasporic, transnational subjects to heritage and museum studies that have been traditionally framed within national and territorial boundaries.