The Gold Coast is a gold mine (no pun intended) for history lovers, with countless museums and historical buildings to explore. One of the best places to walk through is the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, located in the former Nickerson family residence, otherwise known as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace.”

 

Even before Richard Driehaus took over the Nickerson Mansion, the Chicago home had been known for its connection to the arts. The original owners, Samuel and Matilda Nickerson, had obtained an impressive art collection throughout their lives, and enjoyed showcasing the pieces at their residence. They were also interested in helping preserve the Chicago art scene at large, especially in the years following the Great Chicago Fire.

 

After the Nickersons moved back East, the mansion went through a series of owners until 1919, when a collective of Chicago residents decided to pitch in to purchase the building to save it from potential destruction. These residents then donated it to the American College of Surgeons for their headquarters, where they remained until 1963. In 1976, the former Nickerson residence was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places. Finally in 2003, a Chicago businessman by the name of Richard H. Driehaus acquired the property and promptly set about to restore the mansion to its former glory.

 

The museum was originally founded as a place to host Richard Driehaus’ decorative arts collection, namely his set of Tiffany glasswares. Today, there are exhibits that offer a glimpse into the late 19th and early 20th century-life in Chicago. The museum also offers educational and cultural programs to help visitors envision more fully what life used to be like during that time. It has been open to the public since June 2008 and features art and surviving furnishings of that era to truly look the part of a Gilded Age mansion. One of the most popular exhibits that the museum hosted was the Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times exhibit, which closed on May 29, 2016. The exhibition featured real costumes from the television drama, Downton Abbey.

 

Currently, the museum is hosting Beauty’s Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits in America and Gilded Chicago: Portraits of an Era, which both take a look into the resurgence of interest in portraiture throughout the Gilded Age. Treasures from the White City: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 is also on display, which brings in items and memorabilia about the World’s Fair in celebration of the fair’s 125th anniversary this past year.

One of the best places to walk through is the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, located in the former Nickerson family residence, otherwise known as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace.”

 

Even before Richard Driehaus took over the Nickerson Mansion, the Chicago home had been known for its connection to the arts. The original owners, Samuel and Matilda Nickerson, had obtained an impressive art collection throughout their lives, and enjoyed showcasing the pieces at their residence. They were also interested in helping preserve the Chicago art scene at large, especially in the years following the Great Chicago Fire.

 

After the Nickersons moved back East, the mansion went through a series of owners until 1919, when a collective of Chicago residents decided to pitch in to purchase the building to save it from potential destruction. These residents then donated it to the American College of Surgeons for their headquarters, where they remained until 1963. In 1976, the former Nickerson residence was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places. Finally in 2003, a Chicago businessman by the name of Richard H. Driehaus acquired the property and promptly set about to restore the mansion to its former glory.

 

The museum was originally founded as a place to host Richard Driehaus’ decorative arts collection, namely his set of Tiffany glasswares. Today, there are exhibits that offer a glimpse into the late 19th and early 20th century-life in Chicago. The museum also offers educational and cultural programs to help visitors envision more fully what life used to be like during that time. It has been open to the public since June 2008 and features art and surviving furnishings of that era to truly look the part of a Gilded Age mansion. One of the most popular exhibits that the museum hosted was the Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times exhibit, which closed on May 29, 2016. The exhibition featured real costumes from the television drama, Downton Abbey.

 

Currently, the museum is hosting Beauty’s Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits in America and Gilded Chicago: Portraits of an Era, which both take a look into the resurgence of interest in portraiture throughout the Gilded Age. Treasures from the White City: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 is also on display, which brings in items and memorabilia about the World’s Fair in celebration of the fair’s 125th anniversary this past year.

 

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