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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

New Year's Day

Easter Sunday

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day


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
(for further information on the history and architecture of the Clarke House, please visit www.clarkehousemuseum.org)

For further information, please call 312-326-1480.

 Welcome!

Glessner House Museum engages
diverse audiences in exploring urban life and design through the preservation and interpretation of the architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson and the historic home of John and Frances Glessner.

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The Story of a House
Official Blog

 

Glessner House Museum is proud to be a Distinctive Destination of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  We welcome all National Trust members to receive free admission and a 10% discount in our museum store when visiting our site.  Click here for more information on Distinctive Destinations.

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

See Events

for more information

Note: See end of list for recurring and children's programs

 

Louis Sullivan and His Mentor:  John Herman Edelmann, Architect

Tuesday April 22, 2014

7:00pm

Clarke House Museum Symposium
Saturday April 26, 2014
9:00am

Private Tour:  Levere Memorial Temple and the University Guild Collection

Monday April 28, 2014

10:00am

4th Annual Mother-Daughter Tea
Saturday May 3, 2014
11:30am and 2:00pm

Private Tour:  Saint Ignatius College Prep and Architectural Fragment Collection
Wednesday May 21, 2014
5:30pm

A Walk Through Time - Annual Tour of the Historic Mansions of Prairie Avenue
Sunday June 8, 2014
1:00pm

Howell & James of London: Retailing the Aesthetic Movement
Sunday June 22, 2014
2:00pm

Treasures from the Collection VII

Wednesday June 25, 2014
6:30pm

Prairie Avenue Walking Tours
Sundays at 2:00pm
July 20, 2014

August 17, 2014

September 21, 2014

Opening Reception for the Historic House Museum Symposium and Lecture by William Tyre
Friday September 26, 2014

6:00pm

Co-sponsored by the Victorian Society in America

Historic House Museum

Symposium

Saturday September 27, 2014

9:00am - 5:00pm
Co-sponsored by the Victorian Society in America

Clarke House Museum Family Day

Saturday October 11, 2014

9:00am

Open House Chicago 2014

Saturday October 18 and

Sunday October 19, 2014

What Were They Wearing?
Prairie Avenue Style
Thursday October 23, 2014

7:00pm
Co-sponsored by Friends of Historic Second Church

28th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings
Saturday October 25, 2014
5:00 and 8:00pm

Shadows on the Street: Haunted Tours of Prairie Avenue
Saturday October 25 and Friday October 31, 2014
7:00 and 8:00pm

Houses Decorated for the Holidays

Wednesday November 26, 2014 through Sunday January 4, 2015

Christmas Candlelight Tours

Saturday December 13 and

Sunday December 14, 2014

5:30, 6:00, and 6:30pm



RECURRING PROGRAMS:

Clarke House Museum
Historic Handiwork Circle
Last Thursday of each month
9:30 - 11:30am

 

CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS:

Terrific Tuesdays

(Historic Crafts)

Tuesdays at 11:00am

June 17 through

August 5, 2014

Campout in the Courtyard

Fridays at 5:00pm

June 27, 2014

July 18, 2014

August 8, 2014

 


 

Collections Cameo

by John H. Waters

William Pretyman, Designer of the
Parlor Wall Covering


Glessner House Museum parlor

The dedication of the newly restored parlor on October 14, 2011 gives us a chance to look at the life and work of William Pretyman, the artist who designed the room's wall covering.  Active in Chicago from the mid-1880s to the mid-1890s, Pretyman is now little remembered here.  In fact, he designed a number of significant interiors, several of them in buildings by his good friend architect John Wellborn Root of the firm Burnham and Root.

Pretyman was born in Aylesbury, England in 1849 and traveled widely in his youth, serving two years as an administrator in the British protectorate of North Borneo.  By 1882 he had settled in Albany and the next year he married Jenny Remington (of the Remington arms family).  In 1885 the couple moved to Chicago, where Pretyman quickly gained access to the upper echelons of Chicago society.  He would go on to design interiors for a number of Chicago houses and churches, among them the Glessner House, the MacVeagh House (also designed by H. H. Richardson), the 1888 interior of Second Presbyterian Church at 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, and The Church of the Atonement in Edgewater.


Second Presbyterian Church

Pretyman's designs for spaces in several Burnham and Root buildings were his most elaborate.  They included the banking room for the Society for Savings in Cleveland (1890), Charles Gossage & Co. a dry goods store in the first floor and basement of the Reliance Building (1891), and Willard Hall, the assembly room for the Women's Temple at the corner of Monroe and State (1892).  Of these interiors only the Society for Savings remains.  (See further information below).

In 1891 Pretyman was appointed Director of Color for the World's Columbian Exposition, but resigned a year later.  His vision was for a colorful fair, and he did not remain after it was decided to create a "White City."  Pretyman and his family left the U.S. for his native England in the mid-1890s, though he continued to exhibit his art work in this country until at least the early 1910s.  He died in England in 1920.


Society for Savings

SOCIETY FOR SAVINGS BUILDING

The banking room interior William Pretyman designed for Burnham and Root's Society for Savings Building in Cleveland is his only interior, other than the Glessner House parlor, known to survive.  The banking room fills most of the first floor of the building and, like the Glessner parlor, its walls are covered with stenciled decoration.  Pretyman also designed the elaborate leaded glass skylight for the space.

When the building first opened in 1890, the Chicago Tribune commented, "Mr. Pretyman has used much yellow in its color scheme, and the great room is like a golden burst of sunlight . . . (T)he effect of the whole is beautifully joyous and serene."

Today, thanks to the excellent preservation of the space, that effect can still be felt.

Through the Years with the Glessners

Journals courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

The Glessners Dedicate Their Home

125 Years Ago (1887)

December 1:  Yesterday we continued our moving, bringing down quite a number of things.  We found a car load of our furniture had come from Davenport, and had it brought here unloaded and most of it unpacked.  It is very beautiful.  Today we moved by the wagon load - and slept here the first night.  No one knew that we had been moving, every thing was taken in the alley way and unpacked in the court yard.

December 4:  Today we took a carriage and went to the old home.  It looked very forlorn.  We kindled a fire in the library and I lighted a lantern which I had carried over and brought the light home - then from that I lighted a fire here in the library.  Prof. Swing came.  After we had a lovely chat, we went all over the house, then the Prof. read a few verses from the 5th chapter of Matthew and made a beautiful prayer.  Now I feel that the house is dedicated, and so ends a very happy day and prosperous beginning.

Explore the archives of our newsletter to read more about our collections and Mrs. Glessner's journal.

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www.glessnerhouse.org • glessnerhouse@sbcglobal.net
312.326.1480 • fax 312.326.1397 • 1800 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

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