The Richard H. Driehaus Museum immerses guests as they walk through one of nineteenth century Chicago's grandest residential buildings, the Gilded Age house of banker and philanthropist Samuel Mayo Nickerson and his wife Mathilda. Driehaus established the museum in 2003 on April 1 with a dream to influence today's building environment by promoting and preserving design and architecture of days gone by. To turn this dream into reality, he commissioned a restoration effort over five years to preserve the building and its stunning interiors.
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The galleries of the Driehaus Museum today feature historical, elegant pieces from the Driehaus Collection of Fine and Decorative arts paired with surviving furnishings, including significant works by celebrated designers Louis Comfort Tiffany and George A. Schastey. The museum is an excellent example of historic preservation, providing guests with a chance to experience through its exhibitions, collection, interiors, and architecture how the period's prominent design philosophies were interpreted by designers, architects, and artists towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century.
In addition to the general self-guided tours of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, daily tours led by knowledgeable guides are offered by the museum as well. The Best of Both: Combination Tour is a special guided tour that showcases the collections, architecture, and history of the museum, as well as any special exhibitions currently on display. The one-hour tour provides the ideal combination for visitors interested in the museum's special exhibitions and history. This tour is offered four times throughout the day: 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30. Tour tickets are available on a basis of first-come, first-served. Advance tickets are also not available.
The Driehaus Collection of Fine and Decorative Arts serves as a testament to the passion Richard H. Driehaus possessed for the appreciation and preservation of historic design. The diverse collection, housed in the historic mansion of Samuel M. Nickerson, contains American and European fine and decorative arts, including artifacts crafted mostly between the years 1880 and 1920. This was the period of time during which the Nickerson Mansion served as a private residence. In the early 1970's the Driehaus Collection was formed, with acquisitions primarily focused on Art Nouveau posters created by Alphonse Mucha, as well as his contemporaries.
From the collection's core of Art Nouveau posters, the collection of Driehaus has grown to also feature design masterworks by Belle Epoque luminaries, such as Josef Hoffmann, Emile Galle, John La Farge, Edouard Colonna, the Herter Brothers, and Louis Majorelle. In addition to the masterworks of design, the Driehaus Collection is among the nation's leading private collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a preeminent American decorative designer. Richard H. Driehaus opened the museum to the public in 2003 with the vision of exhibiting and preserving his collection. The museum today highlights art and design from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, housed in the meticulously restored, magnificent Nickerson Mansion.
40 East Erie Street, Chicago, Illinois, Phone: 312-482-8933