October 07, 2015

Tickets Now on Sale for the Driehaus Museum’s Special Exhibition Dressing Downton™: Changing Fashion for Changing Times

Featuring more than 35 costumes from the British television series, Downton Abbey®.

High-resolution images are available at http://www.driehausmuseum.org/press/images.

CHICAGO (October 7, 2015) — Celebrate the sixth and final season of the beloved period drama Downton Abbey, at Chicago’s Own American Palace, The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

Tickets are now on sale for the special exhibition, Dressing Downton™: Changing Fashion for Changing Times, on view from February 9 through May 8, 2016 at the Driehaus Museum. The exhibition will feature more than 35 costumes from the popular British television series Downton Abbey. The award-winning costumes are produced by renowned London costume house, Cosprop Ltd. Many use original fabrics and embellishments from the early 20th century, while others are re-created from old photographs, paintings, patterns, and magazine pictures. The exhibition will offer visitors a new perspective on the show’s most memorable characters, both upstairs and down, while chronicling the great changes taking place in Britain during the tumultuous early 20th century.

The costumes are presented in an immersive context, surrounded by the lavish interiors of the Driehaus Museum, which were once the drawing rooms, living rooms, libraries, and bedrooms of the affluent Nickerson and Fisher families of Chicago. The stories of the Fishers in particular, an urban family of new industry wealth who lived in the house from 1901 to 1914, create a fascinating contrast to the aristocratic lifestyle of the Crawley family in the British countryside.

“It’s fascinating to see the evolution of fashion over the course of four seasons of Downton Abbey,” says Driehaus Museum Guest Curator Ruta Saliklis. “Throughout the exhibition, visitors learn about the historical and cultural influences evident in these visually stunning costumes. These remarkable costumes imbue the Museum’s galleries with a powerful sense of that life, reminding us of what it was like for the Nickerson and Fisher families to socialize and entertain in grand Downton Abbey style right here in Chicago.”

Downton Abbey introduces us to the aristocratic Crawley family and the servants who inhabit the fictional country estate of Downton Abbey in 1912, just after the sinking of Titanic. We then follow them through events that uprooted British society on the eve of World War I and ushered in the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and a new way of life. Lord and Lady Grantham; their daughters Mary, Edith, and Sybil; and the retinue of servants in their employ represent the full spectrum of life during this period as they struggle to adapt to a rapidly transforming world.

“This is a special opportunity for visitors to view the costumes of Downton Abbey in a magnificent period home such as the Nickerson Mansion,” says Driehaus Museum Executive Director Lise Dubé-Scherr. “The exhibition was wildly popular at the Biltmore in Ashville, North Carolina and this past summer at The Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We are anticipating it will be equally as popular here in Chicago. I am also delighted to welcome WTTW and WFMT as the exhibition’s Presenting Sponsor. We greatly appreciate their support and enthusiasm.” 

“We are thrilled to partner with the Driehaus Museum on this landmark exhibition – one that is connected to the highest-rated program in public television history,” says Dan Schmidt, President and CEO of WTTW and WFMT. “We can’t imagine a more perfect setting for these costumes that are so beloved by the WTTW, WFMT, and PBS audiences everywhere.”

Due to the anticipated popularity of the exhibition, Driehaus Museum visitors will be required to purchase advance tickets online or by phone. Tickets are available for purchase at DriehausMuseum.org or by calling 312-482-8933, ext. 21. Self-guided admission, an audio tour, and an exhibition guide are included in the price of general admission to Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.


Presenting Sponsor: WTTW | WFMT
Sustaining Sponsor: Parties & Special Events by Lettuce Entertain You©
Supporting Sponsors: Chicago Reader   Sophisticated Living

About the Presenting Sponsor

WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on wttw.com.  WFMT is one of the nation’s most respected classical music radio stations, reaching a wide audience of local listeners and an ever-increasing international audience. 

About the Driehaus Museum Tea Experience and Event Packages

In honor of the exhibition, the Driehaus Museum, in partnership with Parties & Special Events by Lettuce Entertain You®, will be offering daily catered tea experiences. Three tea seatings will be offered every day during the run of the exhibition and feature specialty teas, finger sandwiches, scones, and sweets for guests to experience either before or after visiting the Dressing Downton exhibition. As space will be limited, tea tickets must be purchased in advance online or by phone.

Additionally, the Driehaus Museum is pleased to announce that Parties & Special Events by Lettuce Entertain You® is the exclusive caterer for Dressing Downton. A variety of special event packages, which include a tour of the exhibition followed by a reception, are being offered.

For information about the tea experiences and tickets or Dressing Downton tour and reception packages, visit DriehausMuseum.org or call 312-482-8933, ext. 21.

Special tour and tea packages will be offered for groups of 20 or more.  For more information call 312-482-8933, ext. 41.

About Programs and the Museum Store

Throughout Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times, the Driehaus Museum will engage audiences through a variety of public programs inspired by the exhibition. A complete schedule of programs will be available on December 1, 2015. During the exhibition, the Museum Store will also feature a selection of Downton Abbey-related merchandise, in addition to items inspired by the Museum’s historic interiors and collections.

Dressing Downton™: Changing Fashion for Changing Times is produced by Exhibits Development Group in collaboration with Cosprop Ltd., London, NBCUniversal International Television Production, and Carnival Films/PBS Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey®. © 2015 Carnival Film & Television Limited. All Rights Reserved.  The special exhibition is touring North America through 2018.

For all media inquiries regarding Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times, contact:

Michelle Molise
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Lindsay Silk-Kremenak
312-482-8933, ext. 39
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Press images for Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times can be found on the press section of the Driehaus Museum website.

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum
40 East Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Follow us on social media:


< Back to overview


Sign up for e-News

Stay up to date with the latest news and programs from the Driehaus Museum. Click here to subscribe