glessner house banner

Home : About Us : Tours : Rentals : Explore : Events : Get Involved : Store

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

John J. 'Jack' Simmerling Gallery of Prairie Avenue History
First and third Thursdays at 11:00am

Second and fourth Saturdays at 2:00pm

Pre-paid reservations required

view of prairie avenue

 

view of northeastern corner of roof against blue sky

Events Calendar

Check back often for details on more exciting events and programs!

See end of list for recurring programs, including children's events.

glessner house chimney marked with 1886

Prairie Avenue

Walking Tours

Upcoming Tours:

August 16, 2015

September 20, 2015

(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. Tours of the John J. 'Jack' Simmerling Gallery of Prairie Avenue History and the incredible Arts & Crafts sanctuary of Second Presbyterian Church, featuring nine Tiffany windows, will be included.

IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING PARKING

Parking is available for all special events (NOT regular 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." 

Prairie Avenue Walking Tours

Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00pm

August 16 and September 20, 2015
$15 per person / $12 for members

Pre-paid reservations suggested to 312-326-1480

See full description in sidebar at left.

Clarke House Family Day and

Glessner House Historic Crafts for Children

Saturday September 12, 2015
12:00 - 6:00pm
Free admission

CLARKE - Step back in time and experience a beautiful fall day in pre-Civil War Chicago.  Learn about 1850s family life as you converse with authentically costumed interpreters and explore the restored interiors of Clarke House.  Enjoy a variety of historic activities and demonstrations taking place throughout the day. Don't miss our annual celebration of history and family fun!
GLESSNER - Participate in historically-based craft projects, specifically designed for children ages 3 through 13.  The first project will be to create a small journal with a decorative cover, inspired by Frances Glessner, who kept a journal for over 40 years.  The second project will be to design and create a "stained glass window" like the beautiful Tiffany windows at Second Presbyterian Church.  Tours of Glessner House will be offered throughout the day.

These events are taking place during the annual Festival on Prairie Avenue, sponsored by the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.


Lecture:  The Legacy of Designer Isaac Elwood Scott
Tuesday September 22, 2015 at 7:00pm
$10 per person / $8 for members

Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

Isaac Elwood Scott (1845-1920) is remembered today primarily for the extraordinary furniture, picture frames, and other objects created for John and Frances Glessner over a period of more than 40 years.  But in his day, Scott enjoyed a widespread reputation for his interiors, architectural terra cotta, and other design work, and even collaborated with leading Chicago architects including William LeBaron Jenney.  In this lecture by Executive Director and Curator William Tyre, we will explore his inspirations, furniture and interiors for clients other than the Glessners, and his later work during the years spent in New York and Boston.


Special Tour:  The Architecture of Glessner House
Saturdays from 10:00am to 12:00pm

October 3, November 21, and December 19, 2015
$25 per person / $22 for members

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

These exclusive tours, offered for the first time, will explore the significant architecture of Glessner House.  Controversial at the time of its completion in 1887, it foreshadowed the development of modern residential architecture, and architect H. H. Richardson had a profound impact on architects to follow, including Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.  This special two-hour tour will focus on the architecture from basement to attic.  Attendees will see areas not included on public tours as well as objects rarely shown, including Richardson's original sketch. 

These tours are part of a series of special programming held in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, taking place from October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016.  For more information on city-wide events, please visit www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.

Performance:  PIano Recital by George Radosavljevic
Sunday October 4, 2015 at 4:00pm

$35 per person / $30 for members

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Seating strictly limited

Experience a late afternoon concert in the elegant parlor of Glessner house when pianist George Radosavljevic performs on the Glessners' 1887 Steinway piano.  The Glessners frequently entertained leading musicians from around the world in their home, and many of them performed on this piano.  In this special concert, Radosavljevic pays homage to the Glessners and their musical tastes.  The first part of the program will include Beethoven variations and Liszt transcriptions of Schumann and Wagner, honoring the Glessners' interest in German music.  The second part of the program will include works by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Sergei Prokofiev, both of whom were guests in the Glessners' home. A special treat will be a piano four-hand arrangement of a Chopin nocturne, using the same sheet music from which Frances Glessner herself played.  Radosavljevic is on the faculty of the DePaul University School of Music and has appearedon the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series, and in many solo and ensemble concerts broadcast live on WFMT radio.

Workshop:  Primitive Rug-Hooking

Saturday October 10, 2015 from 9:00am to 12:00pm

Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Avenue

$50 per person, limited to ten participants

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Join docent Roberta Siegel for this introductory course in primitive rug hooking.  Participants will learn the history of domestic rug-making in the United States and employ traditional techniques to reproduce their own authentic rug.  All equipment and materials provided.  Small tabletop lamp recommended.

Lecture:  Glessner House and the Late Work of Henry Hobson Richardson

Tuesday October 13, 2015 at 7:00pm

Glessner House Museum Coach House

$10 per person / $8 for members

Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

What makes Glessner House  Henry Hobson Richardson's masterpiece of urban residential design?  This talk will focus on the late work of Richardson's career and discuss how many of the design ideas Richardson applied to this work are used most successfully at Glessner House.  John Waters is an architect in Chicago who specializes in documentation for research and documentation for historic preservation.  He is a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library and a member of the Glessner House Museum's House & Collections and Buildings & Grounds Committees.

This lecture is part of a series of special programming held in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, taking place from October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016.  For more information on city-wide events, please visit www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.

Exhibit:  Deconstructing Early Chicago

Saturday October 17 and Sunday October 18, 2015
9:00am to 5:00pm each day

Glessner House Museum Coach House

Free admission

Explore this fascinating exhibition of pre-Great Chicago Fire building fragments presented in partnership with Building 51 Museum.  Original architectural elements, hardware, partial building systems, and more from Clarke House (1836) and other early frame structures, including the recently demolished John Kent Russell House (c.1855), will be on display.

This exhibit is part of a series of special programming held in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, taking place from October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016.  For more information on city-wide events, please visit www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.

Tour:  Shadows on the Street - Haunted Tours of Historic Prairie Avenue

Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015

Tours at 7:00 and 8:15pm

Tours begin at the Glessner House Museum Vistors Center

$10 per person / $8 for members

Pre-paid reservations suggested to 312.326.1480

Tales of strange sounds, unexplained sightings, and untimely endings as you explore Prairie Avenue after dark! 

Performance:  29th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings

Saturday October 31, 2015

Readings at 5:00 and 8:00pm

Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Avenue

$25 per person / $22 for members

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.  A holiday favorite now in its 29th year!

Lecture:  "Not so convenient or artistic as we had expected" - The Glessners Build Their Dream House

Tuesday November 10, 2015 at 7:00pm

Glessner House Museum Coach House

$10 per person / $8 for members

Reservations suggested to 312.326.1480

Glessner House is recognized today as a masterpiece of urban architecture by Henry Hobson Richardson.  Few people realize, however, that Richardson was not the Glessners' first choice of architect - or even their second or third.  This illustrated talk by architectural historian Justin Miller will explore projects by the three firms the Glessners ultimately rejected; and will attempt, through letters, journals, and other firsthand sources, to reveal the selection process that led the Glessners to Richardson.

This lecture is part of a series of special programming held in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, taking place from October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016.  For more information on city-wide events, please visit www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.



CHILDREN'S EVENTS

Clarke House Family Day and

Glessner House Historic Crafts for Children

Saturday September 12, 2015
12:00 - 6:00pm
Free admission

CLARKE - Step back in time and experience a beautiful fall day in pre-Civil War Chicago.  Learn about 1850s family life as you converse with authentically costumed interpreters and explore the restored interiors of Clarke House.  Enjoy a variety of historic activities and demonstrations taking place throughout the day. Don't miss our annual celebration of history and family fun!
GLESSNER - Participate in historically-based craft projects, specifically designed for children ages 3 through 13.  The first project will be to create a small journal with a decorative cover, inspired by Frances Glessner, who kept a journal for over 40 years.  The second project will be to design and create a "stained glass window" like the beautiful Tiffany windows at Second Presbyterian Church.  Tours of Glessner House will be offered throughout the day.

These events are taking place during the annual Festival on Prairie Avenue, sponsored by the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.

Columbus Day Craft

Monday October 12, 2015

10:00 - 11:00am

$5 per child / $3 for Junior members

Children must be accompanied by an adult

In 1893, Chicago celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of American with a major world's fair.  Join us this Columbus Day for a special craft inspired by the World's Columbian Exposition.  See original items from our collection and make your own version of a souvenir paperweight to take home.

Teatime with Toys

Friday November 13, 2015

9:00 - 11:00am

$15 per child / $12 for Junior members

Children must be accompanied by an adult

Bringyour favorite toy, stuffed animal, action figure, or doll for a special Victorian tea!  See historic toys from the collections of Clarke and Glessner House Museums and make your own version of a toy enjoyed by children in the nineteenth century.  We'll top off the morning with a spot of tea, or lemonade if you rather, along with other goodies!

Children's Holiday Tours

Saturday December 12, 2015

1:00 - 4:00pm

$15 per child / $12 for Junior members

Children must be accompanied by an adult

Discover how Chicago children celebrated Christmas in the past with holiday-themed tours of Clarke and Glessner House Museums.  Create Victorian scrap art ornaments, enjoy a festive treat, and hear a reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

 


   

 Home : About Us : Tours : Rentals : Explore : Events : Get Involved : Store

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

"));