August 17, 2012

Attendance Soars at the Driehaus Museum

As a result of efforts to increase awareness and introduce new audiences to one of Chicago’s “best-kept secrets,” the Driehaus Museum has seen a significant increase in overall attendance due to expanded daily visitation hours, exciting new public programs, comprehensive membership packages, new thematic guided tours, and event facility rentals.

Overall visitation in 2011 was 7,238, the highest annual number of visitors the Museum has experienced since opening its doors four years ago. In addition, the Museum’s projected attendance for 2012—10,000—was surpassed this week, breaking last year’s all-time attendance record in just over eight months.

“When we began the restoration of the Samuel M. Nickerson Mansion in 2003, my vision was to open a space that would deepen public appreciation of the Gilded Age through decorative arts and the built environment,” says Museum founder Richard H. Driehaus. “I am delighted to see that the Museum is being embraced by a community that is just as passionate as I am about preserving this architectural treasure.”

Increased Museum attendance is attributed to expanded operations, including engaging thematic guided tours offered in addition to the popular Highlights of the Museum tour, the evening Twilight Tour, McCormickville Walking Tour of the surrounding River North district, and the recently-launched Summer Servants’ Tour. While facility rentals have offered an additional way for people to enjoy the Driehaus Museum, public programs—such as the free annual Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series, a diverse array of concerts, family-friendly events, and unique performances—give locals and travelers to Chicago an immersive experience of the culture of America’s Gilded Age. 

The Museum’s new membership program has become one of the more popular additions for repeat visitors. A selection of levels offers members the opportunity to support the Museum’s ongoing preservation of the historic house while enjoying a range of benefits, such as discounted tickets to public programs and complimentary admission.

“Our mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the decorative arts, architecture, and the prevailing design philosophies of Gilded Age America, and by expanding our offerings, we hope to provide guests with a range of opportunities to experience the magnificent Samuel M. Nickerson Mansion and the collections within,” says Museum Director Lise Dubé-Scherr. “We are developing a community of partners, friends, and members who share our passion and interest in preserving one of Chicago’s finest historic homes in a manner that allows it to continue to be active, relevant, and meaningful. We are delighted that guests from near and far are responding so positively to our efforts. And there’s much more to come.”

Hours and Admission:
The Driehaus Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

General admission is $20 adults, $12.50 seniors (65+), $10 students (with valid I.D.) and youth. (Children 5 years and younger receive free admission). Please visit for more information.

Guided Tours:
Daily Highlights of the Museum tours begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1:30 and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $5 in addition to general admission.

Help Wanted: The Summer Servants’ Tour, available through September 14, begins at 5:30 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tickets are $15.

Mansions and Millionaires: The McCormickville Walking Tour occurs on first and third Saturdays at 1 p.m. through November 17. Tickets are $20 for the walking tour; a special combination ticket that includes Driehaus Museum general admission is available for $30.

The Twilight Tour, which takes place on first and third Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., will resume on September 18. Tickets are $15.

Public Programs
The Driehaus Museum offers an array of public programs, such as concerts, performances, family-friendly events, and lectures. Please see for upcoming programs.

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