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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:

July 20, 2014

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


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.


Lecture:  Louis Sullivan and His Mentor - John Herman Edelmann, Architect

Tuesday April 22, 2014 at 7:00pm

Glessner House Museum coach house

$10 per person / $8 for museum members

Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

Join author and retired architect Charles E. Gregersen as he explores the life and career of John Edelmann, the gifted architect and draftsman who had a profound impact on his young apprentice Louis Sullivan.  Copies of Gregersen's new book on Edelmann will be available for purchase and signing.

Clarke House Museum Symposium:

Virtue & Vice - Reform in Early Chicago

Saturday April 26, 2014 from 9:00am to 5:00pm

Glessner House Museum coach house

$30 per person (includes breakfast and lunch)

$25 for students, docents, and Colonial Dames

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Vice Districts.  Prostitution.  Political Corruption.  Racial and Ethnic Discrimination.  Drunkedness and Poverty.  Rioting in the Streets.

Peer into Chicago's past and uncover the social ills that plagued our growing city in the mid-nineteenth century.  Learn about reformers' efforts to clean up early Chicago with presentations by four noted historians.  An exhibit of related artifacts from the Clarke House Museum and Labarre Family Collections will also be on display throughout the day.  Tour Clarke House Museum at the conclusion of the program.  Don't miss this intriguing look at Chicago's struggle to reign in vice and instill virtue as the young city, and our nation, came of age in the turbulent years prior to the American Civil War.

Private Tour:  Levere Memorial Temple and the University Guild Collection

Monday April 28, 2014 from 10:00am to 12:00pm

Northwestern University, Evanston

$25 per person

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Explore two hidden treasures on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston.  The Levere Memorial Temple, designed by Arthur Howell Knox in 1929, possess a striking interior including numerous windows by Tiffany Studios.  The University Guild collection features stunning decorative arts including many pieces acquired at closing of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

All proceeds benefit the House & Collections Committee Fund for the ongoing restoration of the museum.

4th Annual Mother-Daughter Tea

Saturday May 3, 2014

Seatings at 11:30am and 2:00pm

Glessner House Museum dining room

$35 per person / $30 for museum members

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

The museum offers a rare opportunity to dine in the historic dining room.  Surrounded by beautiful oak paneling, a gilt ceiling, and a fireplace clad in exotic Persian tiles, attendees will be treated to a traditional high tea with fine china, silver, and an assortment of delicious treats.  Curator William Tyre will discuss the beautiful objects on display in the newly restored silver closet in the dining room.  This is a very special event not to be missed.  Invite your mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, or good friend for what promises to be a most memorable experience.  Tickets sell out fast, so don't delay!

Private Tour:  Saint Ignatius College Prep and Architectural Fragment Collection
Wednesday May 21, 2014 at 5:30pm

1076 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago

$35 per person

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Group size limited to 35

Explore the incredible campus of Saint Ignatius College Prep, designated a Chicago landmark in 1987, and the recipient of a National Honor Award from the National Trust for the quality of its ongoing restoration.  View a breathtaking array of architectural fragments beautifully displayed in the various buildings and gardens, and join us for a wine and cheese reception in the elaborately carved Brunswick Room with its 32 foot ceilings and elaborately carved Eastlake-style cabinetry. 

All proceeds benefit the House & Collections Committee Fund for the ongoing restoration of the museum.

A Walk Through Time

Tour the Mansions of Historic Prairie Avenue!

Sunday June 8, 2014

1:00 to 4:00pm

Tour begins in the Glessner House Museum coach house

$50 per person / $45 for museum members

Reservations suggested to 312.326.1480

This very special tour, the annual benefit for Glessner House Museum, presents attendees with the rare opportunity to visit the interiors of several historic homes along Prairie Avenue.  Visitors will be treated to a breath-taking array of beautifully carved wood moldings, leaded glass windows, and fireplaces in elaborate tile, mosaic, and marble.  The Glessner and Clarke House Museums are also included on the tour as well as historic Second Presbyterian Church, with its important arts and crafts interior and collection of windows including nine by Tiffany and two by William Morris.  Following the tour, attendees are invited to return to the coach house of the museum for a reception and silent auction, featuring theatre tickets, Chicago memorabilia, collectibles, architectural fragments, and other items of interest.

Lecture:  Howell & James of London - Retailing the Aesthetic Movement
Sunday June 22, 2014 at 2:00pm

Glessner House Museum coach house

$10 per person / $8 for museum members

Reservations requested to 312.326.1480
The period from 1860 to the early 1890s witnessed the flourishing of the Aesthetic Movement, a cult of beauty that emphasized art in the production of ceramics, furniture, textiles, wallpaper, and other furnishings.  Magazines, exhibitions and new retail venues, including department stores, spread Aesthetic Movement ideas and furnishings to a wide public in both Britain and the United States.  This presentation, by independent scholar and design historian Joan Maria Hansen, will explore the activities of the prominent London emporium Howell & James, which played a vital role in spreading Aesthetic Movement ideals, particularly by extensively marketing art pottery and through their classes and exhibitions of china painting.  Although the Glessners did not shop at the Howell & James store, they were vitally interested in ceramics.  After the lecture, Ms. Hansen will take attendees through the museum to look at some pieces that the Glessners collected during the period that reflect this surge of interest in the creation and collection of ceramic objects.

Treasures from the Collection VII


Wednesday June 25, 2014

6:30pm reception; 7:00pm program

This is your special opportunity to see items from the collection that are not on display for the general public.  Textiles, silver, photographs, documents, and much more are brought out for this one evening just for our members!  Different items displayed each year.  If you are not currently a member, join today in order to receive your invitation in early June.

Prairie Avenue Walking Tours

Sundays at 2:00pm

July 20, 2014

August 17, 2014

September 21, 2014

(See full information in sidebar at left)


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.


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 15, 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.

A Special Family Activity:

Campout in the Courtyard

Three chances to participate!

Fridays June 27, July 18, or August 8, 2014

Doors open at 4:00pm for tent set up

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

Snacks, kids beverages, and breakfast included

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

Recommended for children ages 6 to 13

Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian

Prepaid reservations required to 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!



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312.326.1480 • fax 312.326.1397 • 1800 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616