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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 19, 2015

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. 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.


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.

Opening of the John J. 'Jack' Simmerling Gallery of Prairie Avenue History

Monday December 1, 2014

Reception at 6:30pm, program at 7:00pm

Free admission

Reservations requested to 312-326-1480

Jack Simmerling (1935-2013) had a passion for Prairie Avenue that began as a young boy when his grandfather first brought him there to visit a friend living in the coach house of the old Marshall Field mansion.  As a teenager, Simmerling started amassing a collection of architectural fragments from the grand homes of Prairie Avenue as he sadly watched them fall to the wreckers ball.  A talented and nationally-recognized artist, he preserved these homes in numerous artworks that captured the glory days of the "sunny street that held the sifted few."  Simmerling's huge collection of Prairie Avenue artifacts and artworks were gifted to Glessner House to create a permanent gallery showcasing the history of Prairie Avenue.  Join us on what would have been Jack's 79th birthday as we officially open the Simmerling Gallery and marvel in the rich legacy he left for all of us to enjoy.


Exploring the Lives of the Glessners' Servants

Tuesday December 9, 2014 at 7:00pm

$10 per person/$8 for museum members

Reservations suggested to 312-326-1480

The Glessners left a rich archive of materials documenting their lives and the creation of the landmark home designed by architect H. H. Richardson.  They also left behind a wealth of material about the servants who lived and worked at 1800 S. Prairie Avenue over a period of nearly 50 years.  Join Executive Director and Curator William Tyre as he presents this lecture on the lives of the Glessners' servants, exploring who they were, how they lived, and what a typical day in their lives would have looked like.  A special treat will be a brief presentation by the granddaughter of one of the Glessner family maids, who will share photos and stories of her grandmother's years with the family in the 1910s. 

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 Keith House, an 1870 Second Empire style landmark mansion on historic Prairie Avenue, for light refreshments.

Private Tour of the Auditorium Building
with Historian Bart Swindall
Saturday January 10, 2015 at 10:15am
$25 per person
Prepaid reservations required to 312-326-1480
Join historian Bart Swindall, known as "Mr. Auditorium," for this fascinating private tour of the Adler & Sullivan masterpiece celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014.  Learn about the architecture and interior decoration of the building, the fascinating events that occurred here during its long history, and how we nearly lost this architectural treasure before its rescue in the 1960s.  Proceeds support the House & Collections Committee fund for the ongoing restoration of Glessner House Museum.

Workshop:  Painted Floorcloths
Saturday January 17, 2015
8:30am - 12:30pm
Glessner House Museum coach house
$50 per person, limit 15 participants
Prepaid reservations required to 312-326-1480

Learn the history of painted canvas floorcloths and create your own using period techniques.  Participants receive a prepared 2' x 3' blank and all paints and stencils will be provided.  A Clarke House Museum signature event.


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.



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