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Tour Information

Glessner House Museum offers guided tours of Glessner House (1886), a National Historic Landmark and Clarke House (1836), the City's oldest surviving building located in the adjacent Chicago Women's Park and Gardens. Tours are led by trained docents and last approximately one hour in each house.  All tours begin at our Visitor's Center located at Glessner House Museum and are timed so that the two houses may be toured back-to-back.

We are open year-round, except for major holidays.

Glessner House Museum
Wednesday through Sunday

at 1:00 and 3:00 pm

Clarke House Museum
Wednesday through Sunday

at 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm

view of prairie avenue

 

view of northeastern corner of roof against blue sky

Events Calendar

glessner house chimney marked with 1886

Prairie Avenue

Walking Tours

Upcoming Tours:

August 17, 2014

September 21, 2014

(Tours begin at 2:00pm)

Also available by appointment for groups of 10 or more.

Starting Point: Glessner House Museum

Call 312.326.1480 to reserve a place, since group size is limited.

$15.00 per person,

$12.00 for museum members

Explore the fascinating history of Chicago's Prairie Avenue on this two-hour walking tour through the neighborhood, led by Bill Tyre, Executive Director and Curator of the Glessner House Museum and author of Chicago's Historic Prairie Avenue. The tour will cover 200 years of history, from the Battle of Fort Dearborn through the recent rebirth of the area as Chicago's hottest residential neighborhood. Visitors will see historic photos of homes that have been lost and walk past the eleven houses that remain in the area. Interior tours of the last surviving house on Calumet Avenue, now functioning as the Wheeler Mansion boutique hotel, and the incredible Arts & Crafts sanctuary of Second Presbyterian Church, featuring nine Tiffany windows, will be included.

Check back often for details on more exciting events and programs!
See end of list for recurring programs including children's events

IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING PARKING

Parking is available for all special events (NOT regular tours or Prairie Avenue Walking Tours) in a parking lot located on the west side of Indiana Avenue, one block south of 18th Street.  Look for signs that read "MUSEUM PARKING ONLY."  A greeter at the gate will provide you with the necessary parking permit when you arrive at the lot.

 

Prairie Avenue Walking Tours

Sundays at 2:00pm

August 17, 2014

September 21, 2014

(See full information in sidebar at left)

Lecture:

The AIA Guide to Chicago, Third Edition: What's Old, What's New
Wednesday September 10, 2014
7:00pm
Glessner House Museum coach house
$10 per person / $8 for members
Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

Laurie Petersen, editor of the newly published third edition of the AIA Guide to Chicago (and associate editor of the first two editions), will discuss what makes this book different from other tomes about local architecture.  She will show images of some of the 1,600 landmarks and hidden gems featured in the book, with an emphasis on those buildings (both old and new) that are new to this edition.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Symposium Opening Reception and Lecture:
The Historic House Detective - Planning for Restoration

Friday September 26, 2014

6:30pm reception, 7:15pm lecture

Glessner House Museum coach house

$15 per person

Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

An accurate and thoughtful restoration project involves countless hours of onsite investigation and archival research before the actual work begins.  In this lecture by Executive Director and Curator William Tyre, learn how photographs, journal entries, original contractor inovices, and physical evidence were used to develop the restoration plans for the parlor, corner guestroom, and guest bathroom.

Symposium:  Interpreting the Victorian House

Saturday September 27, 2014

9:00am - 4:00pm
Glessner House Museum coach house

$50 per person (includes breakfast and lunch)

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Join us for this very special event, co-sponsored by The Victorian Society in America, as seven experts from the U. S. and Canada gather to discuss the history and interpretation of the "Victorian House."  Featured speakers:

Richard Guy Wilson, Keynote speaker and Commonwealth Professor's Chair in Architectural History, University of Virginia

"Creating the Victorian House"

Laura Gundrum, Chief of Interpretation, Lincoln Home

"Interpreting Abraham Lincoln as a Family Man at Lincoln Home"

Lise Dube-Scherr, Executive Director, The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

"Contemporary Perspectives on Historic Houses: Building Community through Diversified Programming"

Marta Wojcik, Executive Director and Curator, Frank Lloyd Wright's Westcott House and Westcott Center for Architecture + Design

"A Frank Lloyd Wright House as a Community Anchor"

Bruce Davies, Curator, Craigdarroch Castle National Historic Site

"Craigdarroch Castle - Telling the Whole Story"

Lisa Yun Lee, Past Director, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

"Dangerous, Radical, and Queer: Interpreting the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum"

John C. Eastberg, Historian and Director of Development, Pabst Mansion

"Imagination and Reality: The Development of a Victorian Historic House"

Family Day at Clarke House Museum

Saturday October 4, 2014

10:00am - 3:00pm; concert at 3:00pm

Chicago Women's Park and Gardens

1827 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago

Free Admission

Discover the sights, sounds, and smells of Chicago in the 1850s during our annual celebration of history and family fun!  Participate in historic activities and enjoy presentations by authentically costumed interpreters throughout the day.  Folk musician Reid Miller will share a special concert of songs and stories about life in early Chicago at 3:00pm.

Lecture:
The Auditorium in Context - Chicago in the Late 1880s
Thursday October 16, 2014
12:15pm

Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University

430 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Free admission

This lecture, part of the Preservation Snapshot series sponsored by Landmarks Illinois celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Auditorium Building, will be presented by William Tyre, Executive Director and Curator of Glessner House Museum.  The time frame in which the Auditorium was planned and built was a period of dynamic and explosive growth in the city of Chicago.  This lecture will focus on other buildings being constructed in and around downtown, the growth of cultural and philanthropic organizations, the business leaders who were shaping the destiny of the city, and the politicial and social issued that defined the era.  This examination will set the stage for the ambitious Auditorium project, both as a reaction to its time and as a model for the future.


Lecture:

What Were They Wearing?  Prairie Avenue Style
Thursday October 23, 2014
6:00pm reception, 7:00pm program
Second Presbyterian Church

1936 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
$5 per person
Reservations suggested to 312-326-1480

Like fashionable women everywhere, the ladies of Prairie Avenue changed their ensembles for the varied events of the day.  Explore the etiquette of Edwardian fashion - what to wear and when to wear it - with Prairie Avenue Style.

Debra N. Mancoff writes on the intersection of fashion, art, and culture.  She is a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library and her books include The Garden in Art, The pre-Raphaelite Language of Flowers, and Fashion Muse: Inspiration behind Iconic Designs.

This lecture is co-sponsored by Friends of Historic Second Church.

28th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings

Saturday October 25, 2014

Readings at 5:00 and 8:00pm

$25 per person/$22 for members

Clarke House Museum

1827 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago

Pre-paid reservations required to 312-326-1480

Squirm in your seat as actors from Lifeline Theatre present staged readings of Poe's terrifying stories and poetry in the restored 1850s setting of Clarke House Museum.  An evening not to be missed.  Don't wait, tickets sell out fast!

Shadows on the Street:  Haunted Tours of Historic Prairie Avenue

Saturday October 25 and Friday October 31, 2014

Tours at 7:00 and 8:15pm each evening

$10 per person/$8 for members

Pre-paid reservations strong recommended to 312-326-1480

Tales of strange sounds, unexplained sightings, and untimely endings as you explore Prairie Avenue after dark!  Learn about the mystery surrounding the death of Marshall Field Jr., the tragic events that plagued the Philander Hanford house, the spirits that cause the windows to rattle in the William Kimball mansion, and much more!

Lecture:  Romancing the Spoon - The Victorian Love Affair with Silver

Sunday November 2, 2014 at 2:00pm

$15 per person/$12 for members

(includes tea and light refreshments)

Pre-paid reservations required to 312-326-1480

Historian and author Cynthia Ogorek will share the story of our nation's silver industry and its unique position in the economy of the post-Civil War "Gilded Age."  View and learn about pieces from the collection of the Glessners and other Prairie Avenue families and find out why etiquette required such a mind-boggling assortment of forks, knives, spoons, and serving utensils!

Museums Decorated for Christmas

Wednesday November 26, 2014 through Sunday January 4, 2015

Available for viewing during normal public tours and during our special Candlelight Tours (see below); group tours for 10 or more by appointment

Experience a traditional 19th century Christmas at the Clarke and Glessner House Museums this holiday season, and learn about the origins of many of our beloved traditions.

Christmas Candlelight Tours

Saturday December 13 and Sunday December 14, 2014

Tours at 5:30, 6:00, and 6:30pm each evening

$18 for adults/$14 for children 8-12

Members: $15 for adults/$11 for children 8-12

Pre-paid reservations required to 312-326-1480

These special 90-minute docent led tours will highlight Christmas customs and decorations of the 19th century.  The Clarke House will feature simple decorations of the 1840s era when the celebration of Christmas was just beginning, and New Years Day was the most celebrated holiday.  The Glessner House will feature more elaborate decorations of the late 19th century including a live tree (shipped from the Glessners' former summer estate in New Hampshire) decorated with period ornaments, and the dining table set for the Christmas feast.  After the tour, stroll over to the landmark Wheeler Mansion on Calumet Avenue for light refreshments served in the beautifully decorated rooms of this 1870 home, now a boutique hotel.


RECURRING PROGRAMS:

Clarke House Museum Historic Handiwork Circle

Last Thursday of each month from 9:30 to 11:30am

Free for ladies and gents ages 10 and up

(Children must be accompanied by an adult)

Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago
Limited seating, please RSVP to 312.326.1480
Join fellow Chicagoans with a passion for traditional handiwork starting this summer at Clarke House Museum!  Ladies and gents ages 10 and up are invited to bring protable, non-electric, self-contained projects to work on against the historic backdrop of Clarke House Museum.  We are looking for those already involved in a historic craft including (but not limited to):  sewing, knitting, needlepoint, carding/spinning, crochet, wood carving/whittling, leather-working, rug-hooking, lace-making, etc.  This is an opportunity to meet other traditional craft enthusiasts and set aside time to work on your special projects. 
NOTE:  This group is non-instructional and geared toward those already established in their chosen craft.

Terrific Tuesdays

Tuesdays from June 17 through August 5, 2014

10:00 - 11:00am

$5 per child / $3 for Junior museum members

Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

Come every Tuesday this summer for a new adventure!  Learn about life in early Chicago and on Prairie Avenue while making different craft projects.  Recommended for ages 3 through 13; children must be accompanied by an adult; enter the coach house on 18th Street.

June 17: Picture Frames

Isaac Scott designed most of the picture frames in the Glessner House.  Design your own frame for a photograph or artwork.

June 24: Whimsy Making

The Clarke children made decorative items to display in the family parlor.  Show off your own "whimsy" made out of found objects.

July 1: Native American Beading

Fur trappers used colorful beads to trade with Chicago-area Indians.  Make a special beaded treasure to take home.

July 8: Candle Dipping

Before there was electricity, the Clarke family would have lit candles at night.  See how they were made and take one home to use.

July 15: Block-Printed Wallpaper

Both the Clarkes and Glessners had hand-blocked wallpaper in their houses.  Stamp your own unique design.

July 22: Painted Floorcloths

Before linoleum or sheet vinyl, early Chicago families used painted fabric to cover their floors.  Create a canvas mat for your own floor or table.

July 29: Journals

For almost 40 years, Mrs. Glessner wrote about her family's life in her journal.  Make one to record your daily adventures.

August 5: Cornhusk Dolls

Both the Clarke girls and boys played with homemade toys.  Craft your own figures to play with out of dried cornhusks.

Campout in the Courtyard:
A Special Family Activity

Three chances to participate!

Friday evenings June 27, July 18, and August 8, 2014

Doors open at 4:00pm for tent set up

$20 for family of 2; $25 for family of three or more per evening

Snacks, kids beverages, and breakfast included

BBQ Dinner by Cafe Society is an additional $5 per person

Adult beverages BYOB

Recommended for children ages 6 to 13

Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian

RSVP for one, two, or all three evenings!

Call to reserve your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice.

Prepaid reservations required upon confirmation.

For more information call 312-326-1480.

The great outdoors are right here in the heart of the Prairie Avenue Historic District.  Bring your tent and/or sleeping bag and spend a night under the stars with your friends playing games, making s'mores, and watching a movie.  No worries about rain - we'll just move into the coach house!

Register now - limited tent space available!

Co-sponsored by the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.

 


   

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www.glessnerhouse.org • glessnerhouse@sbcglobal.net
312.326.1480 • fax 312.326.1397 • 1800 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

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