November 01, 2012

With a Holiday Twist, Servants' Tour Returns to the Driehaus Museum

CHICAGO (November 1, 2012)—This past summer, the Driehaus Museum launched its first-ever tour devoted to exploring the mansion’s servants’ quarters. Help Wanted: The Summer Servants’ Tour was a blend of theater and history which featured the fastidious, yet charming, Mrs. Williams, a British housekeeper charged with hiring a new domestic staff for the Nickerson family who were in Cape Cod at their summer home. Mrs. Williams is back by popular demand for the holidays, responsible this time for finding additional assistance during the busy entertaining season.

“The Museum’s themed guided tours continue to be very popular, and we were delighted by the response to our first living history tour, Help Wanted: The Summer Servants’ Tour,” says Museum Director Lise Dube-Scherr. “The summer version sold out every evening, and we felt a holiday version would be a wonderful addition to our seasonal programming. During the Gilded Age, many of the traditions we celebrate today—such as the giving of a number of gifts and adorning the Christmas tree with ornaments and strands of electric bulbs—were created and refined. The mansion’s decorated interior and exterior will set the stage for Mrs. Williams’s return appearance.”

The mansion served as the Nickerson’s winter residence during the late 19th century, and the family spent every holiday season in Chicago lavishly entertaining acquaintances, friends, and family from near and far. During the Holiday Servants’ Tour, participants are transported back to the winter months of 1899, where they discover through a servant’s eyes how the Nickersons and their Gilded Age social milieu celebrated the holidays. As applicants to a position in domestic service, participants learn the best methods for preparing plum pudding, how to prevent the new electrical lights on the Christmas tree from catching it on fire, and more.

Help Wanted: The Holiday Servants’ Tour will run from Friday, November 16 through Sunday, December 30, 2012. Tours commence every Friday and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m.

The Holiday Servants’ Tour is suitable for all ages. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for youth 12 years and under. Please note that the ‘back of the house’ is explored via several staircases. For questions about accessibility during the tour, please contact the Museum.

Tours are limited to 20 participants. Advance purchase is highly recommended. To purchase tickets or for additional information, please visit or call 312 482 8933, ext. 21.

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