March 14, 2017The history of the poster starts with black-and-white broadsides in the 1600s, which evolved in the wake of the printing press.
December 29, 2016During the Gilded Age, the American traditions of New Year’s Eve started to transition from the folk celebrations of immigrants to the elaborate soirees we are more familiar with today, especially for those of a certain class.
December 09, 2016This time of year we all have our favorite holiday traditions that help us get into the spirit of the season. Below, we are happy to share with you some of the experiences that those of us who are a part of the Driehaus Museum enjoy most! We hope you enjoy and wish you a very Happy Holiday Season!
November 15, 2016“The object, purpose, and aim in view of the Society and its branches, as set forth in the constitution and in the brief but pointed talk which followed the making of the report, were to put down the vile traffic in obscene books, pictures, etc., by prosecuting those responsible for it either under the Revised Statutes or the State laws. The extent of the evil, which has shown its ugly head with peculiarly refreshing boldness of late, was dwelt upon to some extent, and the movement met with the unqualified moral and financial support of all present. The constitution was unanimously adapted…”
November 01, 2016In 1893, Chicago put on a fair that would awe the world. The World’s Columbian Exposition, so called in honor of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World, displayed the most fascinating innovations and arts of the period in one grand place. The fair organizers envisioned a 630-acre park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted of New York Central Park fame, filled with bone-white neoclassical buildings by such eminent architects as Henry Ives Cobb, Richard Morris Hunt, Charles McKim, and Louis Sullivan.
April 28, 2016Our staff is always asked about their backgrounds and how they came to work at the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.
March 30, 2016In the early decades of the 20th century, the fictional Crawley family of Downton Abbey® hosted grand dinners and fretted about the Great War. At the same time, the real Fisher family was doing the same—right here in this Gilded Age mansion the Driehaus Museum calls ‘home.’
January 04, 2016First name? Corie-ann What is your title and what role does your position play at the Driehaus Museum? Museum Store Manager – My job is to ensure the day to day running of the Museum Store. I also choose and buy all of the merchandise and set up all of our displays.
December 02, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and how they came to work at the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.
October 16, 2015You Asked… What’s the Story with the “Crapper” Toilets in the Driehaus Museum Bathrooms? Today’s blog post is part of an occasional series dedicated to answering visitors’ questions.
September 14, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and how they came to work at the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.
August 10, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and how they came to work at the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.
July 30, 2015Mr. Vanderbilt’s House and Collection (1884), a beautifully bound two-volume set that brings to life William H. Vanderbilt’s monumental “Brownstone Twins” and their contents on New York’s Fifth Avenue, is now on view in the Sculpture Gallery at the Driehaus Museum.
July 17, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and why we ended up working for the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.
July 06, 2015It’s finally summer in Chicago and you’ve done the usual: baseball game, boat tours, street festivals and so forth. It’s time to check out some of the gems of the city, some of which a lot of people don’t realize are right near them. We are going back through the archives of the Driehaus Museum Blog to suggest some great places to bike or take the train over and explore!
June 22, 2015Art, according to John Ruskin, the influential writer of the British Arts and Crafts movement, is most beautiful when its forms are derived from nature.
May 06, 2015The elegant circlet is repossé silver, crafted from melted silver spoons donated by the women of Lombard, Illinois, in 1930. It was created as a symbol of Lilac Time, the annual springtime celebration in this west-suburban village. The crown adorned the first Lilac Festival Queen—whose name and the names of several other early Queens are etched in the crown’s interior—and continues to be an integral part of the festivities today.
November 21, 2014Last December, Time magazine published an article on the psychology of gift-giving, addressing the questions that plague us each year as we search for the perfect gift for the perfect—or not-so-perfect—person in our lives.
October 01, 2014The standard for the American mind, wrote M.G. Van Rensselaer, is to be “alive with mere curiosity as [much as] it is with a craving for instruction—pleased to look at anything, discontented only to think that other people are seeing things with which it cannot make acquaintance.”
July 21, 2014A young architect carved the distinctive lion heads on the lacquered-cherry wood fireplace mantel and the bookcases in the gallery of the Marble Palace. He was Robert E. Seyfarth, (Born 1878, Blue Island, Illinois) and an employee of both August Fiedler and George Washington Maher.
June 21, 2014Visitors to the Driehaus Museum often cite the gallery as a favorite room with its marvelous stained glass dome and massive wood-burning fireplace. Lined with lacquered cherry bookcases and featuring an iridescent mosaic tile Art Nouveau surround, it is the one room in the mansion that was completely redecorated in 1901 thanks to the second owner, Lucius George Fisher Jr.
May 21, 2014“We strongly advocate the use of different styles in different rooms, to avoid the monotonous effect invariably produced by the fanatic apostles of the so-called Eastlake or Modern Gothic. For the same reasons it will be necessary for articles of luxury, as Easels. Hanging Shelves, Cabinets, etc., to use motifs from the Mooresque, Byzantine, Japanese, etc., though diametrically opposed to the prevailing style of the room.” – August Fiedler
March 21, 2014The Tiffany Girls faced their toughest critic since the old master himself during a recent twilight tour at the Driehaus Museum. Susan Vreeland, author of the acclaimed bestselling novel, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, was the featured speaker at the Driehaus Winter Book Club this March. She also gave two lectures at the museum on the Women’s Department at Tiffany Studios. Vreeland provided some valuable insights as she accompanied “Clara Driscoll” and “Agnes Northrop” on a historic reenactment through their temporary studio and showroom in the Nickerson Mansion.
December 24, 2013As the Nickerson and Fisher families looked forward to their holiday seasons, they and other Gilded Age families would have enjoyed games, toys and books in their spare time.
October 14, 2013For the Museum Store, L’Esperance Tile was commissioned to craft two custom tiles inspired by the J. & J. G. Low Art Tile Works tiles found in the Driehaus Museum—which, with their embossed natural details, jewel-toned colors, and sheen, are among the most stunning surviving elements of the this 1883 mansion.
October 05, 2013Cyrus H. McCormick was many things. A native Virginian who became one of Chicago’s great industrialists, he was also a famous penny-pincher, generous philanthropist, stolid Presbyterian, and patent hound. He moved to Chicago in 1847, where he set up the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company factory and prospered.
September 10, 2013“For the last five years Mr. Nickerson has been considered one of the choice fish in the social swim,” wrote a New York Telegraph correspondent, “and all sorts of bait have been thrown at him.”
June 28, 2013Edward J. Burling was, arguably, the first great architect in this city of great architects.
April 20, 2013You Asked… What is the story behind the peach-colored mansion catercorner to the Driehaus Museum?
April 04, 2013A beautiful Romanesque house was completed for John and Frances Glessner in 1887, just five years after the dust had settled from construction on our Nickerson mansion.
March 24, 2013Louis Majorelle made a splash at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 at a precise and brief moment in European art history.
March 19, 2013It’s become a Nickerson Lecture Series tradition to welcome a local scholar for the first lecture of the season.
February 18, 2013It’s not just the entertainment industry that has an awards season.
December 17, 2012The following blog post by WBEZ architecture critic Lee Bey, originally titled “New ‘Lost Chicago’ Book Explores the City That Once Was,” was published November 29, 2012, on his blog,.
October 22, 2012Next week 119 years ago, with a crisp chill entering the air, the closing ceremonies concluded, the crowds began piling into Pullman cars to head back to their own parts of America, and the World Columbian Exposition’s dismantling began.
October 10, 2012On the morning of October 10, 1871, the flames had finally stopped. What was left was, well, hardly anything. About a four-mile swath had been cleared in two days, everything was in ruins, and the conflagration would go down in history books as an infamous disaster for this new, bustling city: the Great Chicago Fire.
September 10, 2012On Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14, the Driehaus Museum will open its doors and offer free self-guided admission as just one of 150 participants in Open House Chicago 2012.
August 28, 2012Ah, Lincoln Park. Here, leafy trees offer dappled shade to quaint, historic residential buildings aligned in cozy, shoulder-to-shoulder rows.
August 07, 2012The land allotted for Graceland Cemetery in 1860 was well above Chicago’s northernmost dotted line, by about two miles: a suburban ‘new city of the dead,’ as they called it. (The recently-exhumed Lincoln Park being the ‘old’ city of the dead in that scenario.)
July 23, 2012The Chicago Architecture Foundation celebrates Chicago architecture with such a wide reach that we couldn’t resist giving our members the chance to enjoy what the nonprofit has to offer. So all of our members get a Buy One, Get One Free Walking Tour benefit to use with CAF.
July 16, 2012There is this great line in the book Great Houses of Chicago, 1871-1921, which I lugged from the shelf in search of insights on the popularity of conservatories during the Gilded Age. It begins, “The Victorians were notorious for collecting…”—and that’s a perfect enough start.
July 12, 2012“Today, the most famous name in American stained glass is Louis Comfort Tiffany. It was not always so. At the end of the nineteenth century, many other American stained glass studios, artists and craftsmen—several of them based in Chicago—had developed a revolutionary approach to stained glass: no paint.”
June 29, 2012The Fourth didn’t become a federal holiday until 1941, but America has been celebrating it since the signatures went down on the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Looking back at a Gilded Age’s worth of Fourth of July celebrations in Chicago, here are some of best (and some of the worst) moments between the Civil and First World Wars.
June 25, 2012On permanent display in the Driehaus Museum are a number of decorative objects—an artistic silver punch bowl by Tiffany & Company; a painting of the Administration Building; and even a trio of Japanese bronzes, souvenirs purchased by the Nickerson family that originally occupied this mansion—that come exclusively from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
June 14, 2012The Museum’s visitors are always interested in how America’s wealthy lived back in the Gilded Age—with their parties, art collections, luxuries, Europe tours, and so on—but lately we’ve noticed this curiosity giving way to a positive deluge of questions about the other half: the Nickersons’ live-in servants.
November 26, 2011This city—with all its liveliness and contradictions—has had its share of literary immortalization. Carl Sandburg did it perhaps most famously with his poem “Chicago.”
November 16, 2011You Asked… Why was this neighborhood called McCormickville (and why didn’t the Nickersons live down on Prairie Avenue with the rest of the wealthy)?