Early in life Brown recognized his attraction to boys and men. His art explored sexuality in many guises, from erotic landscapes, sex in the city, HIV/AIDS, love, longing, joy, and loss—all infused with an uncanny sense for life’s complexities.
The International Museum of Surgical Science celebrates pioneering figures in medical history through artwork—including towering statues in the Hall of Immortals, busts, and portraits—as well as narratives of their discoveries. Visitors can also learn about individuals associated with the historic home, such as architect Howard Van Doren Shaw and heiress Eleanor Robinson Countiss.
By 1890, Frances Willard was the second most recognized and influential woman in the world after Queen Victoria. A well-known author and public speaker, she also communicated regularly with other famous women of the time, such as Susan B. Anthony.
Built between 1914 and 1916 for Samuel Insull, founder of Commonwealth Edison, the mansion was purchased in 1937 by printing magnate John Cuneo, Sr. Cuneo’s business, the Cuneo Press, printed materials for the Roman Catholic Church, Sears Roebuck and Company, and publisher William Randolph Hearst.
This former residence on Chicago’s Gold Coast is one of only a few extant buildings that display the combined prodigious talents of architects Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Charles Gates Dawes was vice president under former president Calvin Coolidge from 1925 to 1929. A prominent figure in history with global reach, he was also a Nobel laureate, brigadier general in World War I, ambassador to England, comptroller of the currency, and the first federal budget director.
Colonel Robert R. McCormick (1880–1955) was an American media pioneer, outspoken patriot, and noted philanthropist. As president of the Tribune Company from 1911 to 1955, he controlled powerful newspapers in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. McCormick also founded WGN Radio and Television in Chicago.
Prolific and visionary, Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most influential architects of the modern age. Wright spent the first 20 years of his career working in Chicago and its suburbs. His experiences in the city would have a profound influence on his architecture, shaping the principles and philosophies that informed his entire career.
Famous entertainers like Barbara Streisand, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige all at one point in their lives called public housing home. So did sports stars like Tony Allen, public officials like former President Jimmy Carter, and corporate leaders such as Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.
George M. Pullman, the industrialist who invented the Pullman sleeping car, was a great innovator. The Town of Pullman, which was operated by his Pullman Palace Car Company and included churches, shops, parks, and theaters in addition to comfortable housing for his factory workers, was a stage for showcasing his work to the world.
Adlai E. Stevenson II was the governor of Illinois, the Democratic nominee for president in 1952 and 1956, and served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Kennedy Administration.
Jane Addams became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, but she was at one point known to as “the most dangerous woman in America.” Her unwavering dedication to pacifism, women’s equality, free speech, and the empowerment of marginalized communities made her a controversial figure at times.
Considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Hemingway set down a style of prose which epitomized American modernism in its fearless depiction of the world “as it was.”
Although the impact of Mies van der Rohe’s architecture is evident throughout the Western world, Chicago is home to the majority of his mature works, including Crown Hall, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, the Federal Center, and the Farnsworth House. The McCormick House is an important part of the story.
The avant-garde architect Paul Schweikher designed this Modernist residence as his private home and studio in 1937. It was purchased in 1953 by renowned artist Martyl Langsdorf and her husband, Manhattan Project nuclear physicist Alexander Langsdorf.
W. A. Fiedler was responsible for the interior designs of the Nickerson Mansion's carved woodwork, cabinets, and marble. Fiedler also contributed to the decoration of the Germania Club, the Hegeler-Carus Mansion, and other notable Chicagoland buildings.
Created from a bequest from architect Ernest R. Graham of the prestigious firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the Graham Foundation has funded groundbreaking projects in architecture and design for over 55 years. Notable recipients include Rem Koolhaus, Buckminster Fuller, Ada Louis Huxtable, MoMA, IIT, and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT.
Born in Bavaria, Germany, Max Eberhardt (1843–1912) was a justice of the peace and an associate judge for the Municipal Court of Chicago for over 40 years. Highly regarded as a public-spirited citizen, Eberhardt was a philanthropist, lecturer, member of many clubs and literary societies, and even a talented poet—a book of his German poems, “Gedichte,” was published in 1902. Eberhardt died inside his new residence at 6018 North Kenmore Avenue. Perhaps he is among the house’s ghosts?
Arthur F. Woltersdorf was born in Chicago in 1870 and began his architectural training in the offices of Bauer & Hill and Burnham & Root. At the age of 24 he formed, with Henry W. Hill, the architectural firm of Hill & Woltersdorf. The firm would go on to design a number of important residences and commercial office buildings—including the Kodak Company Building, Tree Studios, and Saint Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church.
A rare portrait of Samuel Insull hangs in the upstairs office. The utilities magnate had a vast holding company that collapsed in the 1930s, and built what is now the Cuneo Mansion.
Dawes was a proficient economist. Author of a book on the U.S. banking system, the youngest comptroller of currency, and the first director of the federal budget, he wrote the revised post-war reparation plan that earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1925.
As president of First National Bank, Samuel Mayo Nickerson appreciated the security provided by a safe. The marble-covered safe on the first floor blends into the surrounding walls, complementing the rich interiors and bewildering potential troublemakers. Visitors can ask to see this safe's interior.
What to do with that pocket full of change at the end of the day? Dump it on the nightstand, of course. Roger Brown’s pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters spill out of a glass ashtray, right next to an oddly empty piggy bank. Guests are drawn to the dusty copper and silver coins, which serve as ordinary––but somehow priceless—reminders of daily life well spent.
Frances Willard recognized, developed, and implemented the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union as a political organizing force. Under her leadership, the organization increasingly advocated for broad social as well as political change. Willard called this wide program of reform her “Do Everything” policy.
Dawes’s political involvement began with his work on William McKinley’s presidential campaign and carried through six presidential administrations, two World Wars, economic depression, and recovery. Running his own campaign on the slogan “Common Sense,” once in office he fought to eliminate the Senate filibuster.
McCormick and his grandfather, Joseph Medill, used their positions as editors and publishers of the Chicago Tribune to promote certain political candidates and policies. They personally influenced the presidential elections of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Across the globe, public housing has been one of the most important public policies of the 20th century. In America, despite the problems these communities experienced, these programs enabled most residents to get their feet on the ground and move on.
As fear of communism gripped the nation in the mid-20th century, Adlai Stevenson's was a voice for disarmament and against McCarthyism. Through indoor and outdoor exhibitions, our visitors learn about the Stevenson family's significant involvement in American politics.
Despite the fact that resident and physicist Alexander Langsdorf worked on the Manhattan Project, he remained opposed to using nuclear weapons, eventually helping to form the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. His wife Martyl designed the famous Doomsday Clock for the bulletin's June 1947 issue, which counts down the time to nuclear annihilation.
Historically, residential architecture relegated servants to cramped attic or basement quarters. Wright’s design for the Robie House included a servants’ wing on the main level of the house, close to the family’s living quarters. This provided the servants with comfortable, well-lit living spaces while improving the overall operation of the house.
The Charnley family employed two servants who lived in separate quarters on the third floor. Connecting their rooms to the basement kitchen is a servants’ staircase with access doors to each floor which could be locked, excluding them from the main house.
The lives of the staff became intertwined with those of the Dawes family over decades. Nora and Jenny were maids, yet Nora and Charles Dawes shared stock market picks. Deedee, the governess, became Caro Dawes’s personal companion, sharing her home and lifestyle.
Robert R. McCormick had several homes in and around Chicago, all of which were maintained to picture perfection by a modest corps of domestic servants. Several maids, a butler, a valet, and a chauffeur worked in the McCormick household on the Cantigny estate.
An important part of the Glessner House's design is the distinct separation of servant spaces, including work areas such as the kitchen wing and coach house, living quarters with separate entrances for male and female staff, and circulation spaces allowing the servants to travel through the house without disrupting family.
Servants spoke to one another between 6018North’s two kitchens—one on the main floor, the other in the basement—via a long copper pipe. A buzzer, built into the floorboards of what was once the parlor, also allowed the house’s residents to discreetly communicate with their wait staff. What remains of these devices today? Just a rust-covered pipe, still extending through the floor between the two kitchens, and a square hole in the floorboards without the buzzer.
Frances Willard’s organizational agenda reflected her advocacy of not just temperance, but also women’s rights, social justice, and world peace. She was dedicated to Christian socialism, which combined the fundamental aims of socialism with the religious and ethical convictions of Christianity.
The most commanding feature of the second floor hall is the 6 x 17 ft. screen, which conceals the stairway to the third floor. The balusters are attenuated, narrowing as they rise, and are similar in shape to the copper weed holders Wright was designing at the time.
A soaring Jacobean-style staircase of dark oak sweeps around the immense great hall. It finishes in an upstairs balcony supported with beams in which the faces of the Four Apostles are carved. The servants’ stairway is narrow and steep, while a hidden stairway to the musician’s gallery is curiously small.
Behind a panel in Mayslake Hall's upstairs library, a secret staircase winds down one floor to a study. Behind a liquor cabinet doing double duty as a door, it then leads to the basement, which is home to a Turkish steam bath and a room for men to enjoy smoking, games, and a drink.
Wright firmly believed that the American family was integral to the successful future of American society. The Robie House, with its open, communal plan and central hearth was designed to foster family engagement and well-being.
Roger Brown was deeply connected with his roots. Early interest in family origins flowered into extensive genealogical research; tracing his autobiographical path became an obsession. Genealogical discoveries—like finding he was related to Elvis Presley—were woven into many paintings, and family relics are tucked into corners of the Roger Brown Study Collection.
The Clarke family’s personal story parallels the national narrative, from westward expansion through the turbulent years just prior to the American Civil War. The Clarke House Museum explores their journey, which reflects the perseverance of the American spirit and Chicago’s early history.
The National Public Housing Museum has gathered oral histories from three families who lived in Jane Addams Homes; a Jewish, Italian, and African-American family. When the museum opens to the public, these and other memories will be used to shape and decorate apartments representing seven decades of life in public housing.
Clarence Hemingway, a doctor, and Grace Hall Hemingway, an opera performer, raised their son Ernest in a loving environment of learning, music, religion, and art. These early influences inspired much of his later work on these subjects.
Samuel Mayo Nickerson came to Chicago in the late 1850s with his bride Mathilda. After earning his first fortune in the liquor industry, Nickerson moved into banking and became president of the First National Bank in 1867. He commissioned the architectural firm of Burling & Whitehouse to build this mansion in 1879, replacing the original home destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire.
The Madlener House was built for Albert and Elsa Madlener, a young couple whose families emigrated to the United States from Germany and made their fortunes in the brewing and distribution business. With their reputation for gracious entertaining, it is said that invitations to the Madlener’s home were never refused.
Over the course of his long career, Wright witnessed tremendous advances in technology and transportation. While many of Wright’s early buildings included carriage houses, the Robie House heralds the arrival of the modern age with its unique three-car garage.
Small-scale vehicles of all stripes are parked throughout the Roger Brown Study Collection. Just to name a few, renderings of transport appear in toys, models, carved balsa concept cars, in ceramic planters, and on a 1960s lunchbox. The real thing––Brown's 1967 Ford Mustang––is parked in the garage, waiting for guests to sink into its bucket seats, inhale the aroma of vintage leather, embrace the quiet, and imagine turning the key.
Within the rich context of historical murals, prints, and drawings that illustrate medical procedures, the International Museum of Surgical Science dedicates two galleries to contemporary art exploring embodiment and medicine. The museum's artist residency program allows local artists in-depth access to its collection.
Brown’s “Artists’ Museum of Chicago” features a carefully composed mélange of art by Chicago Imagists and self-taught makers, folk and tribal objects, popular culture, costumes, textiles, furniture, toys, advertising ephemera, souvenirs, and a Ford Mustang in the garage. All of them are touchstones that fueled Brown’s intense and demanding creative practice.
The Cuneo collection focuses on Italian Baroque and Renaissance paintings, much of it religious in nature. Also included in the collection are cassones, or chests, dating from the 15th century, as well as Flemish, French, and English tapestries from the 16th century.
At 6018North, artists are encouraged to create artworks that are experimental and challenging, yet accessible and often participatory. During the exhibition "Home: Public or Private?" visitors roamed the halls of the mansion, peeking into rooms which artists had transformed into living tableaus and unique presentations of the house’s original interiors.
Grace Hall Hemingway and her mother were both skilled painters and artists. The walls of the Hemingway Birthplace are filled with examples of their work.
The McCormick House presents a lively schedule of changing displays. Some pay homage to and provide a context for the original 1952 interior, while others respond to the architecture from a contemporary perspective.
The house exhibits many pictures, sculptures, and paintings. These include the art studio and original paintings of Martyl Langsdorf, former resident and artist.
With galleries throughout the three floors of the Madlener House, the Graham Foundation has presented an important program of exhibitions relating to architecture and design for over 50 years. Events and lectures from grant award recipients and distinguished members of the architecture, art, and design community are held in the house’s third-floor ballroom.
Edgar was a fine painter, he could sculpt and could draw haunting portraits, and he was considered a pioneer in the use of graphic art in advertising.
Dr. Max Thorek, founder of the International Museum of Surgical Science, donated his collection of original letters and manuscripts written by important contributors to medicine and science. Archival photographs include portraits of prominent physicians; documentation of the mansion’s appearance as a historic home; and Pictorialist compositions by Thorek, also an accomplished early fine art photographer.
The holdings of the Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives document the history and impact of Willard and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The focal point of the collection is the material relating to Willard’s life and work. Materials date from the 1830s to today, with the majority of the collection dating between 1870 and 1950.
The Roger Brown Study Collection archive offers insights into Brown’s life through materials that vary from “strictly business” to deeply personal items. The archive reveals how integrally his physical and professional life reflected his philosophy and were expressed in his work, often in surprising and unexpected ways.
The Evanston History Center houses a vast archival trove of Evanston history. From original building permits to clipping files, city directories, biographical information, organizational records, local maps, photographs, and historic books and newspapers, these objects represent a multifaceted community history.
Comprising examples of Wright’s earliest furnishings and decorative arts, along with personal effects, correspondence, and photographs, the Trust’s collections detail Wright’s formative years in Chicago.
Grace Hemingway kept records of all the family’s household possessions, so the Ernest Hemingway Foundation knows everything the family owned. These records are displayed for visitors to see in the doctor’s consulting room and the family’s library.
During the Madelener House's 1963 renovation, Daniel Brenner transported elevator grills designed by Louis Sullivan from the Stock Exchange Building to the new library. This was the start of a growing collection of architectural fragments from famous Chicago buildings. In 1987, architect John Vinci installed a permanent display of fragments in the courtyard.
The LMHS archives contain documents, photographs, postcards, newspapers, books, ephemera, and other media covering local people, places, and events of note in Libertyville history. Access by appointment.
Our Archives Building contains a large collection of Kennicott family letters, artifacts, and photographs. Many items from this extensive collection are on display in the Archives, in one of several rotating exhibits.
Once a private estate, the four and a half acres surrounding Pleasant Home has been transformed into a lovely community park offering historic vistas, walkways, and a children’s discovery area.
Throughout his long career, nature was a guiding principle in Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. The Robie House, defined by bold horizontal lines, and a muted palette of earth tones, was designed in harmony with the expansive prairie landscape of America’s Midwest.
Brown’s garden delightfully conjoins classical and vernacular features. Grand concrete statues of Neptune and Persephone preside over jardinière and English garden furniture, all resting on pavers that radiate around the catch basin cover. Junipers evoke Italian landscapes, and a domestic garage enshrines Brown’s 1967 Ford Mustang.
A tranquil retreat from the modern world, the Cuneo gardens were designed by noted landscape architect Jens Jensen. John Cuneo, Sr. redesigned many of the garden ‘rooms’ to suit his more formal tastes. However, remnants of Jensen’s original design remain, including the cobblestone bridge, waterfall, man-made lakes, and council circle.
Robert R. McCormick relished the outdoors. At his Cantigny estate, he hiked, hunted game, and rode horses. McCormick valued protecting nature and wildlife as well, and used the Chicago Tribune and WGN to encourage thoughtful land stewardship and progressive agriculture to the public.
Three feral tabbies live outside in 6018North's large backyard and native forest side lot. The cats also travel and are favorites of the neighborhood children.
The 87-acre Mayslake Forest Preserve is home to five different ecosystems: a high-quality restored prairie; an oak savannah, one of the most endangered ecosystems in Illinois; a marsh; a wetland; and two lakes.
The Schweikher-Langsdorf Home is situated on several acres of grounds which include perennial gardens, an orchard, and Zen garden designed by the noted landscape architect Franz Lipp. Another five acres of woods, restored prairie, and a creek surround the house and are connected to the house via a walking path.
The Grove consists of 143 acres of ecologically diverse prairie grove land, which is preserved and maintained by the Glenview Park District. Beautiful trails have been laid out where hikers can meander among unique plants and trees and watch for deer and other wildlife.
At 13 years old, McCormick attended Chicago’s 1893 World Columbian Exposition. This experience inspired a lifelong sense of hometown pride. He used the Chicago Tribune to promote the city by sponsoring large-scale sports, music, and aviation events. Eventually City Hall took notice, and named Chicago’s premier convention facility, McCormick Place, after him.
While much of 6018North's programming is within its home, we are also itinerant. 6018North hosts exhibitions and events in storefronts, streets, gardens, classrooms, on the beach, and out of the country. Wherever we are, we invite our local, national, and international artists to transform spaces through art while drawing people together.
Together with Alberta Potter Palmer, May Henderson Peabody hosted a fundraiser at Mrs. Palmer’s house to raise funds for the Children’s Building at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Later her son, Stuyvesant ‘Jack’ Peabody, headed the $5 Campaign, an effort to raise funds for the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition.
Stevenson’s large suburban residence was based on innovative architectural styles recently presented at the Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago in 1933–34. Specifically, the house is modeled after the General Houses, Inc. Steel House in the fair’s Houses of Tomorrow Exhibition. This was designed in part by Phillip Will, Jr., soon to be one of the architects for the Stevenson home.
In 1853, Dr. Kennicott suggested that the State Agricultural Society should hold an Illinois State Fair. In 1854 and 1856, he was the chair of this new summertime event, where ideas could flow openly among farmers. Later his sons, Amasa and Flint, organized floral displays in the Horticultural Building at the 1892 Columbian Exposition.
Inspired by the large open fireplaces at the heart of medieval halls, the inglenook fireplace became an important feature in late 19th-century American interiors. The inglenook fireplace designed for the main living space of the Robie House is a monolithic brick structure that divides the living and dining areas. The design included built-in cabinetry and seating that created a sheltering space at the heart of the home.
Filled with cozy gathering places, the first floor has two restored family sitting rooms and a gracious double parlor for entertaining guests. Clarke House visitors discover why public and private spaces were separated in an 1850s home, and see the house’s only surviving hearth stone in the Northeast Sitting Room.
The Charnley-Persky House has six fireplaces—half architect-designed, half stock catalog pieces. The library fireplace mantel combines design elements from both Sullivan and Wright.
The ground floor of Wright’s Oak Park home is centered on an Arts and Crafts-inspired inglenook fireplace decorated with a carved motto that proclaims, “Truth is Life.” A symbol of security, warmth, and familial comfort, the fireplace remained an important feature of Wright’s interiors throughout his career.
The exceptionally large fireplace in the Mayslake Hall library is surrounded by carvings of gargoyles, a bagpiper, and a flutist. Having made his fortune in coal, F. S. Peabody proudly installed a coal-burning fireplace, often considered inferior, in his office on the first floor. Amazingly, not one of the nine fireplaces in the house was ever used.
Eleven fireplaces provided not only physical warmth but a cozy and inviting interior, as requested by the Glessners during the design phase of the house. Live embers from the final fire in their old home were carried to light the first fire in their new home, providing a continuum of welcoming hospitality.
A massive brick fireplace along the east side of the living room is the focal point of the room. This working fireplace still warms visitors today.
While touring the Graham Foundation’s exhibitions, visitors notice a uniquely elaborate fireplace in almost every room of the Madlener House. For the front fireplace in the entrance hall, Belgian sculptor Albert Van Den Berghen designed the bronze relief entitled "Spirit of the Waves," representing Lake Michigan.
The ballroom, also called the music room, hosted many a festive event at the Cuneo Mansion. Music was provided by the 1904 Steinway art-case piano. Gilded and decorated with hand-painted motifs and portraits of famous composers throughout history, the piano was made for Julia Cuneo’s mother, a concert pianist.
In addition to his political career, Dawes was an accomplished musician and composer who played the flute and piano. His Melody in A Major was composed in this house and achieved widespread popularity. In 1951 lyrics were added and it became the song “It’s All in the Game,” which ranks 38th in Billboard’s All-Time Top 100.
6018North's programming involves experimental musical performances and sound installations. Because the first-floor walls are down to the studs, performances can be experienced from the former living room, sitting room, dining room, and kitchen.
The signature NPHM exhibition explored "The Sound, the Soul and the Syncopation" of music from public housing. Using the music made by tenants as a way to explore the varied and diverse cultures found in these communities, the heart of the exhibition reflected on the diversity of those who called public housing home.
John Glessner was a founding guarantor and long-time trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Together with his wife Frances, they provided significant financial support to the organization and friendship to the first conductors, Theodore Thomas and Frederick Stock, and welcomed many of the leading musicians in the world into their home.
The museum provides venue space for private events and tours of the salon, where Eleanor Robinson Countiss entertained her illustrious guests. The historic mansion is a unique setting for dinners, cocktail receptions, and meetings.
Original owner John Farson began hosting music, dance, and drama on Pleasant Home's property more than 115 years ago, before his home was even complete. Continuing Farson’s tradition, our Performing Arts Series features several indoor and outdoor performances each month.
The parlor, a jewel-box space within the house, was the primary entertaining space for the Glessners. Centered by a custom Steinway piano and decorated with an elaborate hand-painted canvas wall covering, the room was the scene of countless intimate gatherings and musical entertainments.
With five children and two generations of adults living together under one roof, the Hemingway Birthplace home had an atmosphere of constant activity. Evening dinners and daily prayer times were gatherings that helped connect the family to one another and form close familial bonds.
From trephined skulls and kidney stones to prosthetic limbs and bone grafts, the International Museum of Surgical Science has a vast collection of specimens on view. Visitors can also experience a turn-of-the-century apothecary assembled on site from the remnants of two New York apothecaries.
The France Willard House Museum combines elements that have been sensitively and historically restored or conserved, such as Frances Willard’s den and bedroom, and those that have been left intact with the patina of age—including her bicycle, which she named “Gladys”.
Many objects in the collection have particular power. Prehistoric stone tools, Roger Brown’s baby shoe, his great grandfather’s naval band and umbilical cord, a West African tribal hunter’s shirt, and other such things occupy most of the physical space—and all of the psychic space—of the Roger Brown Study Collection.
During a foundation excavation in 2002, a late 19th-century garbage pit was discovered adjacent to the house. The landfill contained a range of items, including fine china, medicinal bottles, stoneware, and toiletries. An archaeological dig was sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians in 2010, unearthing additional artifacts, and another dig is planned for the future.
Frances Willard lived in her family home from its completion in 1865 until her death in 1898. The house was bequeathed to the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and made into a museum two years later in 1900, making it one of the oldest continually operating house museums in the country.
Pleasant Home is in the midst of a $6 million restoration. In April 2015, the Summer Dining Porch was restored to its turn-of-the-century elegance and grace. Historic preservation is a key topic in workshops and the museum’s annual lecture series.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust is restoring the Robie House to renew Wright’s vision for this seminal structure in the history of modern architecture and design.
The timeline of 1926 North Halsted is its lifeline. The building began its life as a tobacconist shop, and later housed a bookbindery, confectionary, grocery, and plastics company. Later, it became the home and studio of a famous artist; now, it is an artists’ museum where the rules of playing house/museum are being rewritten.
Moved twice, first in 1872 by the Chrimes family and again in 1977 by the City of Chicago, Clarke House has successfully eluded the effects of sprawl and urban renewal. Many fascinating people, technologies, and techniques were involved in saving and restoring this national landmark.
Today the Charnley-Persky House serves as headquarters for the Society of Architectural Historians. The international organization promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide.
Opened to the public as a museum in 1974, Wright’s Oak Park Home and Studio underwent an extensive restoration to renew Wright’s vision. Today the Home and Studio is the oldest of Wright’s buildings open to the public. It provides a foundation for examining Wright’s life and work, and offers a remarkable insight into the origins of one of the 20th century’s greatest architects.
6018North is currently being sustainably rehabbed as a model for how to retrofit an older home using energy saving and livability principles.
The National Public Housing Museum will be housed in the only surviving building of the historic Jane Addams Home on Chicago's Near West Side. The three-story brick building at 1322-24 West Taylor opened in 1938, designed by a team of architects headed by John Holabird.
Preserving Pullman has long been a labor of love from the grassroots of committed residents. The Pullman House Project is currently restoring select residential structures to showcase life in Pullman during the Victorian era. The project is a joint effort of the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Bielenberg Historic Pullman House Foundation, both 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations.
Mayslake Hall is a house under restoration. Its room-by-room approach gives visitors a view of the fascinating process in action, while telling the story of the life of a building, its role in history, and its connection to the community.
The house has been extensively and accurately restored to its appearance in the 1890s due in large part to an extraordinary archive of material preserved by the family. That archive includes journals, manuscripts, correspondence, and an important collection of historic photos taken by the Glessners’ son George, a talented amateur photographer.
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation purchased the home in 1991, and restored it from a modernized three-flat to the Victorian showpiece it was when the Hemingways lived there.
Thanks to the Langsdorfs’ thoughtful 60-year stewardship, the home and studio have remained unaltered from Paul Schweikher’s original vision. Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized by The American Institute of Architects as one of the top 150 architectural sites in Illinois. Current conservation is overseen by the Schweikher House Preservation Trust and the Village of Schaumburg.
In 1963, architect Daniel Brenner renovated the Madlener House to accommodate the Graham Foundation’s philanthropic and educational activities. While making minor changes, Brenner showed consideration for the special quality of the building at a time when architectural preservation was only beginning to be appreciated.
The Kennicott House was nearly torn down to make way for high-density housing. Thanks to a group of passionate preservationists known as the Frog and Fern Ladies, the house was saved and restored. The Redfield Estate, designed by famed architect George Grant Elmslie, was also renovated to show the true beauty of his Tudor-style architecture.
Edgar Miller Legacy is a 501(c)3 non-profit. The goals of our organization are to preserve and promote Miller as an overlooked artistic genius, encourage study and research of his life and body of work, act as a resource for educational institutions and organizations, and to provide inspirational experiences within Miller-designed spaces.
The International Museum of Surgical Science library is the room that best represents the original appearance of the mansion as a residence. Now it contains over 5,000 volumes of medical texts, including significant works from greats such as Vesalius, Frederik Ruysch, and museum founder Dr. Max Thorek.
The Frances Willard House Museum contains two large libraries of books from the mid- to late 19th century. The parlor contains the family’s collection, including the family Bible, while Frances Willard’s den contains her personal collection. Many of the books have annotations in them, written by Frances and other family members.
The library, with its glass-domed light fixtures, gilded frieze, and large, curved picture windows, was the first room in the home to be fully restored. Books about local history and architecture are sold in the Museum Shop, enjoyed by visitors from all over the world.
James Charnley, a Chicago lumberman, was a dedicated member of the Chicago Literary Club. His family’s interest in reading is evidenced by the built-in bookcases lining the walls of the library.
The library of McCormick’s Cantigny Farm estate contained over 3,000 volumes. McCormick himself also authored ten books. His 1918 book "With the Russian Army" propelled him to stardom and encouraged him to produce additional works on the American Revolution, the freedom of the press, and the Civil War.
6018North has an extensive artists' book and multiples collection, including a Fluxus piece which records the house’s history. These can be viewed by appointment.
F. S. Peabody possessed an extensive library. After his death it was dispersed among his heirs and partly sold. A Mayslake volunteer, working in a second-hand bookstore, came across four books, all inscribed to "F. S Peabody" by his father for Christmas of 1896. They now are back at Mayslake Hall.
Centered by a huge partner’s desk used by John and Frances Glessner, the library contains nearly 3,000 original volumes, including many inscribed by the authors, as well as books read and discussed in Frances’s Monday Morning Reading Class, which met for over 35 years in the room.
Ernest Hemingway’s work, drawing on themes of the natural world, was inspired by the learning that took place inside his childhood home. As a physician, his father’s study was filled with medical texts and natural journals.
When at home Adlai E. Stevenson II spent a majority of his time in his study. Here he wrote his speeches and books, including "Putting First Things First," and welcomed dignitaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, a close friend and frequent guest, and John F. Kennedy.
Situated in the Madlener House’s former kitchen, the Graham Foundation’s non-lending library showcases hundreds of books funded by its grantmaking initiatives, from the beginnings in 1956 to recently published titles. In the former dining room, a new bookshop contains a specially curated selection of architecture and design books and periodicals.
Two famous nature authors, Donald Culross Peattie and his wife Louise Redfield Peattie, lived at Redfield Estate in the 1930s. Donald published his book A Prairie Grove, which tells of his experiences living at The Grove, in 1938.
The International Museum of Surgical Science's mansion was originally built as a single-family residence for Eleanor Robinson Countiss, her husband, and their children. At the lady of the house's request, famed architect Howard Van Doren Shaw designed the mansion to replicate Marie Antoinette’s chateau in Versailles, the Petit Trianon.
Built in 1865 and patterned after a design by Andrew J. Downing, the Willard House, called “Rest Cottage,” is the only building representative of the Gothic Revival style in Evanston. Its picturesque and irregular massing was one of the first influences that undermined the more formal Greek Revival style.
Maher introduced his motif rhythm theory in Pleasant Home, creating unity by combining unique decorative elements and repeating them throughout the interior. Visitors discover lions’ heads, shields, and circle and square motifs in stained glass, carved wood, and mosaics throughout the home.
Inspired by the expansive landscape of America’s Midwest, Wright's Prairie style was the first uniquely American architectural style of the 20th century. Completed in 1910, the house Wright designed for businessman Frederick C. Robie is the consummate expression of his visionary Prairie style. The house is recognized today as one of the most significant buildings of the 20th century.
The 1888 brick storefront at 1926 North Halsted Street retains many original architectural features. Roger Brown’s partner, Modernist architect George Veronda, sensitively rehabbed the interior in 1974, creating a spacious studio and residence to house an extensive art collection. In Veronda’s design, vintage architectural details harmonize within a Modernist scheme, creating a comfortable historical continuity.
Designed by Chicago architect Benjamin Marshall in the Italian Villa style, the Cuneo Mansion features an interior courtyard covered by a once-retractable skylight and surrounded by Ionic columns topped by an intricately carved frieze. Other features include a grand staircase, balustrade, and a second-floor colonnaded loggia with a painted wooden-panel ceiling.
Clarke House is a rare example of heavy timber framing and Chicago’s only surviving example of Greek Revival domestic architecture. The house retains much of its original 1830s exterior finishing and early 1850s Italianate belvedere. The temple-front porticoes have been re-created to appear as they did prior to removal in 1872.
Embodying Louis Sullivan’s desire for a new form of American architecture, this house marks a significant departure from the prevailing Victorian aesthetic. Frank Lloyd Wright would call it “the first modern house in America.”
The Dawes House was built in 1894 and designed by architect Henry Edwards-Ficken. Its unusual apricot-colored brick masonry exterior is adorned with elaborate and unique red sandstone ornamentation. The interior is replete with intricately carved woodwork, magnificent stained-glass windows, soaring stairways, and intriguing galleries.
The English Arts and Crafts movement, which promoted craftsmanship, simplicity, and integrity in art, architecture, and design, provided a powerful impetus to Frank Lloyd Wright’s principles, and informed the design of the architect’s Oak Park home.
The state of 6018North is not precious, but in continual artistic flux. Flood damage to the home exposed its original structure and bones, and artists are invited to create work in relation to this existing structure and its history. They can make changes, such as adding walls and disco balls, or removing layers of paint and debris.
The Town of Pullman is the earliest and largest-scale usage of Queen Anne architecture in the Midwest. Using primarily brick construction, architect Solon S. Beman favored this simple, yet elegant, style first popularized by English architect Richard Norman Shaw.
Wide, tall chimneys are one of the identifying features of Tudor Revival-style architecture. Mayslake’s terracotta chimney pots are decorated with a fleur-de-lis, rope, and Tudor rose motif. The chimney pots above the servant quarters are unadorned, one of the ways architectural design reflects the occupants’ hierarchy within.
The refined and sophisticated detailing of the Glessner House—a distinct departure from other homes of the period—combines with a unique floor plan to represent an extremely successful collaboration between Henry Hobson Richardson, a highly innovative architect, and his forward-thinking clients.
The Adlai E. Stevenson Home and Stable Building were designed in 1938 by the Chicago firm of Perkins, Wheeler and Will in a streamlined Art Deco style. Symmetry, geometric shapes, and stepped and curved elements created a modern aesthetic on an exterior originally painted yellow, Ellen Borden Stevenson’s favorite color.
"Architectural Encounters," an exhibition of the historic site’s important architectural features, makes connections between the design aesthetic of the home and the social commitments of the resident reformers. A children’s activity called Preservation Detectives is available for kids to explore during their visit.
For the exterior of his Oak Park home, Wright adapted the picturesque Shingle style, fashionable for the vacation homes of prosperous East Coast families and favored by his first employer, the architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee.
The McCormick House is a one-story, horizontal version of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s high-rise towers, adapted to a row house form. A departure from the luxurious design work for which he was known, the McCormick House served as a lab for his design development and an exercise in space efficiency, moveable partitions and building systems, modularity, and the modesty of stock millwork.
Developed at his Oak Park studio during the first decade of the 20th century, Wright’s Prairie style represented a bold new approach to domestic architecture. Inspired by the expansive landscape of America’s Midwest, the Prairie style was the first uniquely American architectural style of what has been called “the American Century.”
The Schweikher-Langdorf Home's Modernist design is constructed entirely of brick, wood, and glass. It features redwood siding, Douglas fir trim, large exposed beams, and cantilevered construction. Completed in 1938 on the rural boundary of Chicago in Roselle, now part of Schaumburg, it also features the early use of passive solar technology.
The Nickerson Mansion was given the nickname “Marble Palace” due to the 17 different types of identified marble used in construction. In addition to onyx and alabaster, marbles from France, Italy, Belgian and the United States can be found throughout the museum.
Built in 1901-1902, the Madlener House is the work of architect Richard E. Schmidt and designer Hugh M. G. Garden. Recognized for the quality of its architectural design, the 9,000-square-foot Prairie-style mansion features compact, cubic massing related to German Neoclassicism in addition to details that reveal the influence of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.
To transform the Cook House into a civic library in the early 1920s, the domestic Victorian exterior underwent a few “improvements”, including stucco and a Greek Revival-style portico. .However, the interior was preserved along with such original features as a lovely wooden staircase, pine floors, wood trim, and marble fireplaces.
Edgar Miller’s genius reached its apex in four fully realized artistic studios that he built on Chicago’s North Side in the 1920s and ‘30s. Miller marked almost every inch of the studios with daring and surprise. He took rustic brick, crude stone, salvaged tile, found glass and recycled steel and wood and “Edgarized” the homes, packing them with stained-glass windows, frescoes, murals, mosaics and woodcarvings.
You won’t see a jumble of overcoats and umbrellas in Brown’s hall closet. An artful display of headgear––a beekeeper’s veil, sporty pith helmet, Russian fur trapper’s hats, Spanish fedora, and construction helmets—hover above an array of Hawaiian shirts, Seminole jackets, an “Elvis” pullover, and sundry other garments. It’s all strictly for show, however. Brown was a jeans-and-work-shirt kind of guy.
Heiress to funds accrued from her father’s innovation—the diamond-shaped matchstick—Eleanor Robinson Countiss created products ranging from the first liquid shampoo to a town car produced by Ford. Presently the museum's collections encompass exemplary medical devices, including a perfusion pump invented by pilot Charles Lindbergh.
Second owner Herbert Mills and his Mills Novelty Company invented and manufactured the coin-operated slot, paving the way for innovations in slot machines and automated music boxes. A Mills Novelty Company Violano Virtuoso is on display in the home.
As a newspaperman, Robert R. McCormick held several patents that improved printing press operation, but his fascination with mechanics and engineering went beyond the media. While serving as president of Chicago’s Sanitary District from 1906 to 1911, McCormick designed new ways to keep drinking water safe. He also invented a multi-purpose shovel in World War I.
Originally the home was lit by a mixture of gas and electric lighting. An 1888 Chicago Tribune article about a Nickerson Christmas party describes the use of electricity in the house. The home's second owner, Lucius Fisher, installed Edison bulbs in the marble cornices of the first two floors.
No museums use this keyword.
John Cuneo, Sr. avidly collected American and European antiques. Highlights of the collection include a 16th-century German suit of armor, a 19th-century Italian pietre dure table, an early 20th-century American Steinway art-case piano, and two 19th-century Ormolu and Sevres style porcelain-inset gueridons.
Authentic early- to mid-19th-century decorative arts and quality reproduction finishes fill the restored interior spaces of Clarke House Museum. Replicas of 1850s wallpaper, carpets, floorcloths, and other domestic household goods enhance the collection and create a sense of stepping back in time.
The ornament of the Charnley-Persky House is characteristic of both Sullivan and Wright, seen in elaborate hand carvings as well as machine-made forms and decorative panels, utilizing shapes both sinuous and geometric.
The splendor of the Dawes’ 1920s décor remains in place. Breathtaking Tiffany lamps, gilt-framed oil paintings, and many works of art grace every room. Objects on view include furniture from the White House, European antiques, countless Persian rugs, and a Steinway grand piano and several sculptures purchased at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
The Pullman House Project collection of decorative arts includes over 1,000 pieces of English ironstone variants of the Tea Leaf pattern, English and American variants of the India Tree china pattern, and many fine examples of American Brilliant cut glass.
In furnishing their new home, the Glessners looked toward the English Arts and Crafts movement for inspiration, selecting numerous textiles, wallpapers, and carpets produced by Morris & Co. as well as tiles and ceramics by William De Morgan.
The period furnishings and décor in the Hemingway Birthplace were acquired or reproduced with the assistance of the Hemingway family, particularly relatives of Hemingway’s older sister Marcelline. Her recollections provided details about the rugs, wall coverings, paintings, and other features of the house.
The Driehaus Collection of Fine and Decorative Arts is a diverse collection of European and American artifacts created predominantly between 1880 and 1920. The Driehaus Collection supplements the works of the mansion's original architects and interior designers.
Completed in 1916, the Cuneo Mansion incorporates the latest technological innovations of the era, including electric lights at a time when most homes nearby still used gas lighting. The mansion was also built with central heating and central plumbing, and boasts the oldest working elevator in Lake County.
Robert R. McCormick updated his rural Colonial-style Cantigny home with the newest technology of the 1930s. Innovations included air conditioning, recessed lighting, a heated dumb-waiter, private movie theater, and automatic fire doors.
The Hemingway home was one of the first in Oak Park to have electric service, a symbol of the fading Victorian era and the dawning of the 20th century.
Structurally, the Nickerson Mansion features brick-bearing wall and masonry arches supported by cast iron beams. Upon its completion, the building was described as "one of the few fire-proof houses in the city."
Roger Brown’s bulldogs (Duchess, Babe, and Elvis, successively) were beloved companions who shared his home, studio, and affections. Their traces remain in dog dishes, chew toys, and nose marks on the walls. Bulldog images are tucked into the collection here and there, and appear in a few of Brown’s works.
McCormick was an accomplished equestrian and avid pet owner. He rode horses at Cantigny for fox hunting and polo, and his pet dogs often traveled with him on vacation and to work. Amy McCormick, his first wife, founded Orphans of the Storm, an animal shelter in Deerfield, Illinois.
F. S. Peabody named his highest-grade coal after his champion horse Great Heart, who set the high jumping world record at eight feet and three inches in 1923. Great Heart coal was used on Admiral Richard E. Byrd's 1939 expedition to the South Pole.
A menagerie of Illinois animals is waiting for you to visit them at The Grove Interpretive Center. These live creatures, including snakes, turtles, amphibians, fish, and birds of prey, were Robert Kennicott’s favorites. He was Dr. John Kennicott’s son and Illinois’ first naturalist.
Edgar loved to use animals as objects of his art, as they were a reflection of nature and he believed they brought us back in touch with our humanity. Even more so, since the sculpture garden was intended to be used by the housing project’s neighborhood children, it made even more sense to use animals as a way to engage the young minds.
No museums use this keyword.
Chicago has always been a global city, attracting immigrants from every continent during the 20th century. Public housing has served new Chicagoans settling here from countries like Poland, Spain, Cuba, Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, and Korea.
More than 24 different racial and ethnic groups visited Hull-House, which offered immigrants and native-born Americans an opportunity to socialize, learn, and imagine how to live together within a democratic society.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German-born architect and one of the pioneers of modernism. In his accomplished career he served as director of Bauhaus from 1930-33, and moved to the United States in 1937. In Chicago, he served as head of the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology for 20 years.
Brown’s Southern evangelical Christian upbringing was peppered with hellfire and brimstone. As an artist, he infused the threat of apocalypse into many of his paintings. On a more peaceful note, he felt his collection of objects conveyed “the spiritual and mystical nature that material things evoke.”
The two tables in the formal dining room and breakfast room could be joined together for dinner parties of up to 64 people. Guests of the Cuneos included television star Hopalong Cassidy, Chicago Mayor Richard H. Daley, Samuel A. Cardinal Stritch, publisher William Randolph Hearst, and even future president Ronald Reagan.
Almost all of 6018North's events involve food as a way of connecting artists and audiences. Food and drink provide lubrication for connecting, building, and sustaining community.
The Museum and its many vibrant programs make connections between the work of Hull-House residents and important contemporary social issues. For example, a soup kitchen-inspired gathering of stimulating conversation and communal dining called Re-Thinking Soup takes place on third Tuesdays.
Several of the International Museum of Surgical Science's exhibits focus on medical contributions made by women, such as Florence Nightingale and Marie Curie. The historic mansion is named for the lady of the house, Eleanor Robinson Countiss, because funds from her home building trust financed its construction.
Under Frances Willard’s leadership, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union grew to be the largest non-secular organization of women in the 19th century. She often called the organization the “WCTUniversity,” and it provided training for women to think on their feet, speak in public, and run an organization.
Tours at Clarke House focus on domestic life, with emphasis placed on the importance of women and 1850s household management. Cookery, education, health, entertaining, fashion, childcare, finances, and other issues were of importance to the early Victorian woman.
The residents of Hull-House were largely educated women who used settlement life as a way to break boundaries and pursue personal and professional goals.
Frances Glessner was a legendary hostess, talented silversmith, trained beekeeper, and expert needle worker. Her daughter, Frances Glessner Lee, achieved fame as a leader in the field of forensic science and was appointed the first female state police captain in the country in 1943.
The Schweikher-Langsdorf Home was the 60-year residence of famed artist Martyl Langsdorf, designer of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock. She was also an influential board member of many organizations, including the Arts Club of Chicago and Ragdale Foundation.
In the kitchen, architect Paul Schweikher sought his vision of modernist efficiency through his design of open cabinetry and pass-through food service.
Storage space is rare at the Roger Brown Study Collection. Thus, the gift shop is tucked into the dishwasher, while kitchen cabinets hold Brown’s 1970s appliances and an array of vintage, sugary foodstuffs. There’s Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, Hershey’s cocoa, Karo syrups both light and dark, Brer Rabbit molasses, buttery caramel sauce, and clover honey––a core sample of a Southern-born artist's favorite sweeteners.
A Garland stove, made in nearby Detroit by the Michigan Stove Company, anchors the kitchen and a pantry filled with culinary tools of a bygone era.
The Kennicott House kitchen was modern in 1856. There was a pump that brought water up from the cistern, and a state-of-the-art stove with six burners and an oven. Mrs. Kennicott also had a summer kitchen attached to the house. The kitchen has been carefully restored to reflect the “modern” conveniences she once enjoyed.
Farson’s teenage sons built their own playhouse at Pleasant Home. Later the Mills family moved in with eight children, filling all six bedrooms in the house. Today, children of all ages come for field trips, workshops, and educational programming, and to play in Mills Park.
The Clarkes had nine children. Six of them—Henry James, Robert, Mary, Edward, Caroline, and Cyrus—survived to adulthood, and they grew up alongside a young Chicago. Their lives are perfect examples of what it was like to be a child in pre-Civil War Chicago.
The 1895 playroom on the second floor of the home is one of the great spaces of Wright’s early career. Designed to inspire and nurture his six children, the room is a physical expression of Wright’s belief that, “For the same reason that we teach our children to speak the truth, or better still live the truth, their environment ought to be as truly beautiful as we are capable of making it.”
Educational programs for teens and young people directly serve the NPHM's mission to encourage community engagement. Programs and curriculum are developed in tandem with the Museum's core and changing exhibits and programs.
The Kennicotts built a schoolhouse for local children. Despite the scarcity of paper, the students of the Grove Schoolhouse started the first area newspaper, the School Times, and they wrote all the articles. Today the schoolhouse has been rebuilt to Dr. Kennicott’s original specifications, and it hosts hundreds of school children each year.
Given its subject matter and collections, the museum attracts visitors with a wide variety of interests. Displays of preserved and dissected human bodies and graphic depictions of surgical procedures inspire guests to contemplate macabre themes such as disease and mortality.
Five ghosts currently call 6018North home. 6018North has been dowsed to reveal its energetic patterns—which may have contributed to its recent flood. The dowsers found that the house has a "scene of the crime" room on the third floor, where many visitors say they can feel an intense energy.
Legend has it that Mr. Peabody is buried in a glass casket, with his ghost roaming Mayslake’s grounds. He and his son were indeed buried at the estate, though they are now at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hinsdale. The glass casket idea might come from St. Innocentius, a martyr child once displayed in a glass casket at Mayslake by the Franciscans.
Beginning with notable philanthropist John Farson, commitment to community organizations extends to Pleasant Home’s philosophy today. Service, religious, and art-based groups have appreciated the graciousness found at the home, then and now.
Dawes privately founded several charitable organizations to fight poverty and homelessness before governmental programs serviced the need. He and his wife Caro were also involved with adoption issues and provisions, co-founding The Cradle and serving the Illinois Children’s Home and Aid Society.
McCormick gave generously to many charitable organizations. Chicago-area museums, universities, hospitals, youth organizations, and animal rescue groups regularly received funding from him. Today, his philanthropic spirit continues through the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
Many of 6018North's shows promote generosity as a way to make art, create community, and engage in paradigmatic shifts around money and self-interest through art.
The Graham Foundation makes project-based grants to individuals and organizations that explore innovative, thought-provoking investigations in architecture; architectural history, theory, and criticism; design; engineering; landscape architecture; urban planning; urban studies; visual arts; and related fields of inquiry.
For two seasons a year, the Madlener House ballroom hosts experimental music performances presented by Lampo. Founded in 1997, this Chicago-based organization brings internationally-recognized composers and musicians working in electronic and electroacoustic music, free improvisation, sound art, and other new forms to local audiences.
One-of-a-kind furniture, designed specifically for the residence by architect George Maher, include an original dining room suite, library chairs, and a grand foyer settee. These uniquely crafted pieces feature decorative motifs inspired by nature.
Consistent with Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture, the Robie House furniture was designed in harmony with the interiors of the house. In his architecture Wright integrated exterior and interior design principles to achieve a level of visual unity never before seen in American design—site and structure, interior and exterior, furniture, ornament and architecture, every element of the building was connected.
Clarke House's period rooms contain several early- to mid-19th-century furniture styles. On view are examples of American Empire, Gothic Revival, Elizabethan Revival, Rococo Revival and regional vernacular pieces from the collection of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Illinois.
Bold, innovative, and architectural, Wright’s furniture is an integral element of his Prairie interiors. In accordance with his philosophy of “organic” architecture, Wright’s furniture is conceived in harmony with each specific commission. Today Wright’s Home and Studio displays examples of Wright’s earliest furniture designs and provides a unique perspective on the development of the architect’s organic interiors.
One treasure from the Pullman House Project collection is the grand sideboard built for George Pullman's private home on Prairie Avenue, a section of the city known as “Millionaire’s Row.” We also have a large collection of Victorian furnishings, including Eastlake-style furniture made by the Tobey Furniture Company for Pullman's Hotel Florence.
Glessner House Museum contains the largest collection of furniture, picture frames, and ceramics by Isaac Elwood Scott, a talented designer and close friend of the Glessners, who designed pieces in Modern Gothic and Eastlake styles.
The museum's hybrid living/dining area includes seating for visitors as well as furnishings by some of the most important and innovative American designers of the postwar period, such as Mies van der Rohe himself, George Nelson, and Florence Knoll. It also functions as an exhibition space with focused groupings of ceramics, functional objects, and art.
There are a number of original furnishings still on display in the museum, including seat furniture in the drawing room; the settee, rocking chair, and three side chairs in the front parlor; the chandelier and chairs in the library; plus Samuel M. Nickerson’s original dining room table.
The Cook House is completely decorated with furniture from the Victorian Era. Of special note are a rare half-canopy bed in the master bedroom and Eastlake furniture in the front parlor.
The Kennicott family donated more than half of the furniture on view in the Kennicott House, and each of these pieces reflects the heart and soul of the family. Don’t miss the captain’s chair owned by Dr. John Kennicott, as well as the wooden examining table from his medical office. The dental drill owned by his brother William, Chicago’s first fulltime dentist, is on display in the Archives Building.
The natural light streaming through 17 stained glass windows provides an extraordinary experience on each level of Pleasant Home. Architect George W. Maher designed the windows to echo decorative motifs found elsewhere in the residence.
One of the great legacies of American design, Wright’s leaded glass windows are a defining feature of his Prairie buildings. Robie House was Wright’s last and greatest Prairie-style house and includes some of his best-known window designs.
Designed by Chicago ecclesiastical painter John Mallin and fabricated by Tiffany Studios artist Arthur J. Michaudel, the windows in the Cuneo Mansion chapel depict various scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and other religious scenes. One panel depicts John Cuneo, Jr. and his younger sister, Consuela, with their guardian angel.
The stained glass surrounding the interior entry door is distinctly different from the ornament found in the rest of the Charnley-Persky House. It is very similar to art glass found in the Blossom House in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, which was designed by Wright around the same time.
Through his use of glass Frank Lloyd Wright achieved a dynamic balance between transparency and enclosure. Leaded glass windows at the Home and Studio chart the early development of Wright’s innovative glass designs.
The works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the premier decorative artist of the Gilded Age, are prominently displayed throughout the Museum. Stunning examples include the urn-shaped turtleback glass chandelier in the sitting room and Lily table lamp in the drawing room. The house also contains custom stained-glass windows and fireplaces, designed by other prominent artists of the day.
In Roger Brown’s bedroom, artifacts of the Deep South permeate the room with reminders of slavery, including ceramic vessels from South Carolina’s Edgefield District, a large cotton-harvesting basket, and sweetgrass baskets from the Gullah Islands. Potent African masks evoke the origin of the diaspora, while a drawing by the self-taught artist Bill Traylor is a rare example of visual work by a personal witness to the country's thorny evolution from slavery to emancipation.
The Cuneo Mansion has 13 bathrooms—four in the back of the house for staff, and nine in the front of the house. Every bedroom for family and guests has its own private bath. And all are gilded—the walls, the sink pedestal, even the base of the commode.