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

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.

Tours of the Simmerling Gallery of Prairie Avenue History
Saturday December 27, 2014 at 10:00am
$10 per person/$8 for museum members

Prepaid reservations required to 312-326-1480
Group size limited to 15
Explore the new gallery opened December 1 featuring the Prairie Avenue artwork and artifacts of Jack Simmerling.  These one-hour tours will be led by William Tyre, Executive Director and Curator.  The gallery tells three important stories - how Prairie Avenue became Chicago's most prestigious residential street in the late 19th century; how the forces of urban change transformed the neighborhood and all but erased Prairie Avenue from the map by the mid-20th century; and lastly how Jack Simmerling preserved its history through the salvaging of architectural artifacts and the creation of numerous works of art.  With Simmerling's foresight, this important chapter in Chicago history has been preserved at Glessner House Museum, so that current and future generations can appreciate the glory that was Prairie Avenue.
Additional tour dates will be scheduled in early 2015.  All ticket proceeds will support the creation of a larger permanent gallery to showcase the Simmerling collection.

Lecture:  The Auditorium Building in Context - Chicago in the Late 1880s
Thursday January 8, 2015 at 7:00pm
Free admission
Reservations requested to 312-326-1480

The time frame in which the Auditorium Building was planned and built was a period of explosive growth in the city of Chicago.  In this lecture, William Tyre will look at 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, the political and social issues that defined the era, and the construction and opening of the Auditorium, celebration its 125th anniversary in December 2014. 
This event is co-sponsored by The Alumni Association of Victorian Society Summer Schools which will present information on their 2015 summer schools in Newport, London, and Chicago.

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.



 Home : About Us : Tours : Rentals : Explore : Events : Get Involved : Store •
312.326.1480 • fax 312.326.1397 • 1800 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616