“Perhaps you and those who come after you may be interested to look this record over on some rainy day, when lacking better occupation… It may recall happy experiences of your own youth here and lead in your imagination to pictures of the happy hours your forebears had here.”
John Glessner, The Story of a House
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. Tours are timed so that the two houses may be toured back-to-back. Advance reservations are not accepted.
The Clarke House Museum, located at 1827 S. Indiana Avenue (within the boundaries of the Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens) is owned by the City of Chicago. The collections are owned and maintained by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Illinois. Glessner House Museum is responsible for coordinating all tours of this site. For further information on the history and architecture of the Clarke House, please visit www.clarkehousemuseum.org.
The John J. 'Jack' Simmerling Gallery of Prairie Avenue is located in Glessner House Museum and features the Prairie Avenue artwork and artifacts of Jack Simmerling. The gallery tells the story of Prairie Avenue's years as Chicago's most prestigious residential street in the late 19th century, its transformation and decline in the 20th century, and how Jack Simmerling preserved this important history through the salvaging of architectural artifacts and the creation of numerous works of art. Pre-paid reservations required.
Visitors are welcome to photograph the exterior and interior of our house museums for their own personal enjoyment. Flash photography and use of tripods is prohibited. In addition, videotaping or audio taping of the tour or other educational programs is also prohibited.
Groups are limited to 12 visitors per tour and are on a first-come, first-serve, walk-in basis. However, custom tours for groups of 10 or more are available with at least 4 weeks advanced reservations. Please contact 312.326.1480 for more information or to make a custom tour reservation. Free days (Wednesdays) do not apply to groups of ten or more.
Tours with the Executive Director
Bring a group for an intimate behind-the-scenes tour of Glessner House Museum. Our Director will take you on a private tour sharing stories and information not included on regular tours, and exploring areas of H. H. Richardson's "urban masterpiece" that are not shown to the general public. Get an up close and personal look at your favorite objects in our collection, experience the rooms from a different perspective, and view collections rarely seen by museum visitors. Available by appointment only. Cost is $25 per person and the tour lasts two hours. Offered for groups of four to eight people. For groups of less than four, the charge is $100.
A walking tour of the historic Prairie Avenue neighborhood is available on selected Sunday afternoons during the summer (see Events page) or by appointment for groups of 10 or more people. The tour includes the Simmerling Gallery, stops in front of the exterior of the surviving mansions, historic photographs of the lost houses, and an optional interior tour of historic Second Presbyterian Church, featuring nine Tiffany windows. The tour lasts two hours (with the church) and is led by the executive director.
Glessner House Museum is located on the southwest corner of Prairie Avenue and 18th Street. Prairie is 2 blocks east of Michigan Avenue. 18th Street is 2 miles south of downtown Chicago. The Visitor's Center is located inside the front entrance of the house facing Prairie Avenue.
Call 312.836.7000 or visit www.transitchicago.com for further public transit travel information.
Parking near Glessner House is limited. There is on-street parking on 18th Street and Indiana Avenue. Parking is not allowed on Prairie Avenue.
Get customized directions to Glessner House using Google maps.
We are open year-round, except for Easter Sunday, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
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.
1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
at 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m.
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
is our free day; spaces are filled on a first-come, first-serve, walk-in
basis. Advance reservations are not accepted.
Gallery of Prairie Avenue History
Download the walking tour of historic Prairie Avenue
Take a tour of historic Prairie Avenue on your own, using this free, four-page pdf brochure as your guide.
Other things to do
in the area
Looking for something else to do after your visit to the Glessner House? Nestled within the Prairie Avenue Historic District and footsteps away from South Michigan Avenue, the Glessner House is surrounded by many other historical sites, cultural organizations, and restaurants.