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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

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:

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. 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.


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." 

Private Tour: St. Patrick's Church

Wednesday July 15, 2015 at 6:00pm

$25 per person

Pre-paid reservations required to 312-326-1480

This private tour will explore Chicago's oldest public building, designed in the 1850s by architects Carter & Bauer.  The simple facade of Milwaukee common brick sports two distinctive spires symbolizing the Church in the East and West.  Inside, the renovation of the 1990s by Booth Hansen Associates revealed the glorious Celtic art created by stained glass artisan Thomas O'Shaughnessy and others.  After the tour, we will walk one block east to tour the exterior of the Glessner Center, built in the 1880s for John Glessner's company - Warder, Bushnell and Glessner.
All proceeds from the tour will support the House & Collections Committee Fund for ongoing restoration work at the museum.

Prairie Avenue Walking Tours

Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00pm

July 19, 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.

Lecture:  The Rocks Estate Today
Tuesday July 21, 2015 at 7:00pm
$10 per person / $8 for members
Free for docents and volunteers
Reservations requested to 312.326.1480

Beginning in 1883, the Glessners spent over one-third of each year at their beloved summer estate in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, known as The Rocks.  The estate, which encompassed nearly 1,500 acres at its peak, combined stunning architecture by Isaac Scott, Hermann Von Holst, and Shepley Rutan and Coolidge, set within a landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons.  After the Glessners died in the 1930s, their descendants continued to occupy the estate and run it as an active working farm.  In the late 1970s much of the property was donated to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forest, of which John Glessner was an early member.  Today, the estate is one of the premier properties owned by the Society, offering a lush landscape, rare trees and plants, and numerous restored buildings that tell the story of the Glessners while being adaptively reused for today's needs.  Join Nigel Manley, director of The Rocks Estate for the past 29 years, as he takes you on a journey through this natural wonderland.


Terrific Tuesdays

Historically-Inspired Crafts for Kids, Ages 3-13

Tuesdays June 16 - August 4, 2015

10:00 - 11:00am

$5 per child / $3 for Junior Members

Reservations requested to 312-326-1480

Come for a new adventure every week!  Learn about life in early Chicago and on Prairie Avenue while making craft projects inspired by area history.  Recommended for children ages 3 through 13; children must be accompanied by an adult.  Enter museum on 18th Street.
June 16: Quilt Blocks

Early Chicago families made beautiful quilts to keep them warm.  Learn about historic block patterns and recreate one.  Or design your own!

June 23: Japanese Leather

The Glessner dining room is decorated with dimensional wallpaper that looks like hand-tooled leather.  Use it as inspiration to design your own colorful embossed papers.

June 30: Basket Weaving

Native American families and early settlers wove baskets to carry and store food or other supplies.  Learn how to weave a real reed basket.

July 7: Hooked Rugs

Thrifty Chicago families used scraps of wool to create pretty rugs for their homes.  Make a mini version of a primitive hooked rug.

July 14: Picture Frames

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

July 21: Stained Glass Windows

Second Presbyterian Church is brightened by beautiful stained glass windows.  Create your own colorful design to hang in a window at home.

July 28: Decorative Tiles

Designer William De Morgan crafted many of the fireplace tiles used at Glessner House.  Decorate a fancy tile for your home.

August 4: Band Boxes

The Clarke family stored their belongings in paper-covered boxes.  Construct a band box from wallpaper scraps to keep your own treasures safe.




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