The Driehaus Museum was one of the sites featured on the Open House weekend, when I saw it on the list I put it as my #1 spot to visit as I love touring old mansions and just hadn't found the time to visit this one. The mansion was built in 1883 for banker Samuel Nickerson, the Founder of the First National Bank of Chicago, who lived in the mansion until he sold it in 1900. The mansion was purchased by Richard Driehaus in 2003. He restored the mansion and it opened as a museum in 2008 featuring some of the original furnishings and also some of his onw personal collection of art, collectibles and furniture.
You can visit all three floors of the mansion, all of the rooms are rich in decorative detail and decorated in the time period that Nickerson lived there. Unlike some mansions I've toured they have not tried to jam too much stuff into the house which can be a distraction from the beauty of the house itself. My two favorite rooms were Mrs. Nickerson's sewing room designed in a Moorish style and the gallery with it's beautiful domed stained glass ceiling.
From the website it appears that you can either self tour or go on a guided tour, I had looked into the twilight tour but never seemed to be able to coordinate a visit.
Having been charged with finding the Tiffany mosaic ceiling in former Marshall Field's Department Store from shrimp56's & Dab's tips, I set out to discover it for myself.
Firstly, I like anything Art Deco, which Tiffany does so well. Secondly, I like the penultimate in items; this falls squarely into that category as it's the largest (and unbroken) Tiffany favrile glass mosaic in the world. Thirdly, I like having to search for my Art Deco penultimate objects.
Walk into Macy's and ask for the Clinique counter. It's still there. The Clinique counter, I mean. I hasn't switched spots so you'll find the mosaic ceiling as you look up. Then head to the nearby elevators, take them to the 5th floor where you'll walk out squarely into the lingerie department and will presently see the ceiling. Enjoy!
Photos: November 2008 & March 6, 2008
Built in 1917 as a mansion of Eleanor Robinson Countiss, this museum has 4 floors filled with artifacts, illustrations and collections.
It was interesting and educational.
For example I did not know that:
1) the first known surgeon lived 4700 years ago in Egypt and his name was Imhotep (you can see his stone statue on the 2nd floor);
2) many early medicines were very dangerous. Like this headache powder called Orangeine which claimed 'to strengthen the heart..' but in fact depressed it and was responsible for one death in every 1000 New Yorkers in early 1900s (see the ad for Orangeine in my pic#2);
3) Eskimos invented sunglasses (see my picture #5)
4) trephination (removal of a piece of skull) was developed 4000 years ago in Peru. It was performed to treat brain injuries, hallucinations and epilepsy. It is believed that those who survived the dangerous procedure acquired a holy status and a removed piece of skull was worn as an amulet (for painting of ancient trephination see my picture #3)
5) medieval hospitals were often located within churches. There was no separation between the space for services and hospital, while priest conducted a cermon in the background, nurses attended to patients in the foreground (for painting of medieval church-hospital see my picture #4).
The Oriental Institute Museum houses an impressive array of Middle Eastern artifacts. It features pots, weapons, clay figures, mummies, and massive sculptures from many civilizations that existed throughout the Middle East. The Khorsabad Bull from Mesopotamia and the artifacts from Persepolis are particularly impressive, but the museum does an excellent job of providing information about each exhibit, so if you take the time to read as you explore, you can learn a lot about these ancient cultures. Very few of the displays are replicas, which makes it even better!
There is no entrance fee, but you should give a donation. They recommend $7. There are also donation boxes within the museum, so if you want to support a specific exhibit, wait until you get inside and donate in the boxes.
FREE guided tours (approx 45 minutes) are available at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may also visit the Money Museum on your own at any time during open hours.
The Money Museum is very interesting, with interactive displays testing your ability to spot counterfeit bills, to determine what course of action the experts would take during different economic situations, see the disposition of old currency, and to see what ONE MILLION DOLLARS looks like in singles, $20's, and $100's. There is also an opportunity to take a free photo with a suitcase of the $100's - just push the button, place your feet on the mark, and smile when the computer counts down.
Free souvenirs (photo, bags of shredded currency, and comic books for the kids) - I found this to be an interesting and educational tour.
In case the prints are not large enough to read, here is what is said:
ONE MILLION DOLLAR (domination of $20.00).
It was: DID YOU KNOW: * A stack of one-million-dollar bills would be one-and-a-half times the height of the Federal Reserve Building in Chicago. We strongly feel that even the locals should come and visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. It is free of charge, very informative. The meaning of" $ " MONEY.
While you're walking along Navy Pier, walk through the Smith Museum of Stained Glass. It's free admittance and never crowded. Walk at your own pace. The windows are beautiful! The first museum of it's kind in the U.S., with windows of many different themes. It's an interesting museum and a nice walk!
This museum contains one of the grandest public collections of stained glass in the United States. Many of the windows were originally installed in the Chicago area and thus provide a unique view into the city's cultural, ethnic and artistic history. Included in the display are three windows that were exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition. The museum houses one of the largest collections of Tiffany windows.
The museum is divided by artistic themes: Victorian, Prarie, Modern and Contemporary. Each window has extensive label detailing it.
What do you do with a three-year old when it is minus 20 in Chicago and you have the afternoon to kill? Bring them to the Peggy Notebart Museum. This museum opened in 1999 as a venue for the public to find new ways to reconnect with the natural world. Thought-provoking, hands-on exhibits examine Midwestern ecosystems and bring the natural world up-close in extraordinary ways.
Be sure to check out the Butterfly Haven - which has 75 species from around the world. Permanent exhibits include a 28-foot tall butterfly greenhouse, interactive water lab, animal lab, wilderness walk, a hands-on habitat for little ones under 7 years of age, and more.
Admission: Adults $7; seniors (60+) and students (13-22) $5; children (3-12) $4.Thursdays free.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and May 5th.
Here you will find a permanent exhibition called "Chicago: You Are Here". This exhibit includes a scale model of downtown Chicago, along with images, artifacts and video presentations, encouraging visitors to explore the architecture, infrastructure and environment of Chicago.
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