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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.

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

“We have lived with these things and enjoyed them; they are a part of our lives. We don’t realize how many they are and how much a part of us they are until we begin to catalogue them in our minds.”
John Glessner, The Story of a House

Email Alerts

If you would like to receive email updates about upcoming events, please send your name and email address to and we will be glad to add you to our list.

John J. 'Jack' Simmerling Gallery of Prairie Avenue History Fund
On December 1, 2014 we opened the temporary Simmerling Gallery showcasing highlights from the extensive collection gifted to us after the passing of Jack Simmerling in July 2013.  Our long-term goal is to convert the 1,250 foot space over the coach house into a permanent gallery that can accommodate a much larger portion of the collection.  Working with architects from Krueck + Sexton, we have developed plans that show what the space will look like when complete.

The projected cost of the new gallery is $422,000 with an additional $50,000 needed for conservation of artifacts and artwork, and the creation of custom display cases and exhibit mounts.  Donations large and small are now being accepted for the permanent gallery and work will begin once funding is in hand.  Donations may be made by downloading a donation form here

Tours of the temporary gallery are offered on the first and third Thursdays at 11:00am and on the second and fourth Saturdays at 2:00pm.  Call 312-326-1480 for more information or to make reservations.


At Glessner House Museum, our work is three-fold: to preserve and protect our National Historic Landmark; to care for our remarkable decorative arts collection; and to interpret the building and its contents, as well as the history of the Glessner family and Chicago, through tours, exhibits, educational outreach, and public programming.

Gifts from generous friends of Glessner House Museum account for 86% of our annual operating expenses. As is true with many museums, fees from tours, programs and seasonal events generate only a small fraction of what is needed to cover expenses. Our annual fund covers the gap between earned income and expenses for tours, educational programs, communications, staffing and basic month-to-month maintenance of our historic landmark building.

Your support for the annual fund through memberships and contributions will help us continue and improve the tours and educational programs that we offer. Your support will also help us expand our audience, so that more people can experience wonder at the architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson, enjoy the Museum's collections, and feel immersed in the history of Chicago as it was during the heyday of Prairie Avenue.

To make a contribution to Glessner House Museum, download a form by clicking here.


As a member of Glessner House Museum, you will enjoy free admission for guided tours of the museum's period rooms, and you'll help secure the future of this national architectural treasure.

To become a member of Glessner House Museum, download a form by clicking here.

Junior Memberships

Kids are invted to become members of the Glessner House Museum for just $5.00 per year!  With a junior membership you will receive:
-a quarterly Junior newsletter;

-special discounts on children's programming;

-invitations for "Junior Members Only" events

-age appropriate activities for all.

Recommended for children ages 3 through 13.  Click here to download a Junior Membership application.

Glessner House depends on volunteers to give tours, conduct research, help care for the collection, and a host of other activities. Please email and include your mailing address for a volunteer packet or call 312-326-1480 and request more information.

Download a volunteer application by clicking here.


Glessner House relies on volunteers to give tours of the Clarke and Glessner Houses to thousands of visitors from all over the world. As a volunteer docent, your job is to lead an exploration of the rich topics each house had to offer. Whether your group is a classroom of school children or people from the neighborhood, there is always the possibility of insightful dialogue and new discoveries – for the visitors and for you!

To prepare volunteers to give tours, GHM offers an individualized docent training program that covers architecture, decorative arts and social history as they relate to each house. New docent training is held annually over five consecutive Saturdays in late winter/early spring.  The next training will begin on February 20, 2016.  Each morning session begins at 9:30am and concludes at 12:30pm.  Docents must commit to 24 hours of volunteering per year, which works out to one 2-hour shift per month. Docents lead public tours on afternoons Wednesdays through Sundays, in addition to custom tours which are offered seven days a week.
The Benefits

* Occasional continuing education programs through the Docent Council

* Invitations and discounts to lectures, programs and special events

* 10% off on merchandise in the museum gift shop

* Annual recognition party

* The chance to make connections with people who are interested in the same things that you are!

Other Volunteer Opportunities

We also have volunteer opportunities for those with an interest in the museumand our work who may be too busy (or just a bit too shy) to make the docent commitment. We'd love to hear from you, too!


Tours, exhibits, and public programs are the most visible ways in which the organization interprets the resources of Glessner House. Another important method for sharing the cultural riches of the house is the museum's internship program. Through internships, we provide educational outreach to university students who come to Glessner House to learn about the architecture, art, and social history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as the many aspects of museum administration. Staff works closely with the students to determine internship objectives and to set project priorities. Many Glessner House interns are fulfilling a degree requirement and will receive course credit; several of our interns have come to Glessner House to experience working in the museum field before making an academic or professional commitment.

Glessner House has so many resources that we are able to take students from a wide variety of fields: historic preservation, decorative arts, museum studies, history and more. We provide interns with knowledge and training they can take with them into their careers, placing each student into a working environment where each becomes part of the Glessner House team. Here we are able to take that one step further and combine the theory with hands-on professional training and real work experience.

Download an internship application by clicking here.

Research opportunities

Glessner House Museum offers research opportunities for those interested in the Glessner Family, Henry Hobson Richardson, Isaac Scott, architecture, historic preservation, decorative arts, social history, and Chicago history during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as it pertains to the Glessner family and the Prairie Avenue District.

Limited resources include historic photographs, family papers, restoration files, drawings, and various published articles. The archives may be accessed by appointment only, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

glessner house front door and grate
fanny glessner with her children

Major Contributors

Alphawood Foundation

Aristotle Foundation

Berglund Construction

BP Amoco Foundation

Enterprise Development


Francis Beidler Charitable Trust

Chicago Community Trust

Chicago Press Corporation

Chicago Title and Trust

    Company Foundation

The City of Chicago, Department of

    Cultural Affairs
Coldwell Banker

Arie and Ida Crown Memorial Fund

Johanna Favrot Fund

Gaylord and Dorothy

    Donnelley Foundation

Getty Grant Program

Illinois First

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Institute of Museum and Library


Lakeside Bank

Landmarks IL

Latham and Watkins

LaSalle National Bank

The Mills Corporation

Museum Loan Network

Northern Trust Company

National Endowment for the Arts

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Chicago


National Trust for Historic


Paul Bechtner Foundation

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

Rudnick & Wolfe

Save America's Treasures

Service Club of Chicago

WPWR-TV Channel 50 Foundation

Corporate Partners


Legacy Development

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