Speciality Museums in Chicago

THE 10 BEST Chicago Speciality Museums

Speciality Museums in Chicago

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What travellers are saying

  • Taylor B
    Chicago, IL8,016 contributions
    The fabled Castle, the one-time home of Potter and Honore Palmer on North Lake Shore Drive, is long gone. So are many of Prairie Avenue's historic mansions. But the Richard H. Driehaus Museum still is open to the public, a classic reminder of America's Gilded Age, Located at 40 East Erie Street, at Wabash, near the Magnificent Mile, on Chicago's Near North Side, it is housed within the historic Samuel M. Nickerson House, the 1883 residence of a wealthy Chicago banker. The museum, replete with marble, onyx, carved exotic and domestic woods, glazed tiles and stained glass, does not re-create the Nickerson mansion but rather broadly interprets and displays the prevailing design, architecture and decorating tastes of the Gilded Age. On display are original furnishings from the Nickerson era along with American and European decorative arts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a number of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The museum is named after its founder, Richard H. Driehaus, a Chicago businessman, philanthropist and art collector. At the time of its completion in 1883, the mansion was reportedly the most expensive and elaborate private residence in Chicago, having cost $450,000. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and designated a Chicago Historic Landmark in 1977. It was opened to the public in 2008. In addition to the Tiffany works, the Driehaus collection includes over 1,500 objects, including furniture, vases and Favrile glass.
    Written 27 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • mdboy2
    Maryland1,047 contributions
    Great interactive museum. Good for a couple hours if you're a reader. The list of writers and their presentation is very well done.
    Written 18 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Lynn N
    Concord, MA11 contributions
    I would recommend this museum to all ages. The federal staff of all jobs and responsibilities volunteer for an informational talk in a meeting room. We had a gentleman who was up the corporate ladder who loved to talk. He was delightful and funny.

    The museum is small and the space is used wisely. Go see a million dollars. Or pick up free money (shredded) Get educated.
    Written 10 July 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Ellen B
    Bear, DE374 contributions
    We saw The Ninth Plant and Destination Solar System while we were there. Plant Nine was pretty interesting, but “Destination” was a little too silly in parts
    The Light Pollution and Jim Lovell exhibit were both very interesting, as was the solar system display. Worth the stop. It is probably a half day. With the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum on the same campus you can easy do 2 stops in one day
    Written 28 October 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • NapierAro
    napier485 contributions
    This small museum far exceeded my expectations. Had to admit that I found the term "Oriental" a little confusing, as the numerous items on display were mostly from the Middle East and Egypt, with a smaller display of Roman statues.

    The items were all stunningly displayed with good captions. There were only six other visitors there so it made me feel very select.

    This was a real highlight of my visit to this city, and was only a five minute walk from the famous Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House.
    Written 4 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Carol
    7 contributions
    Cliff knew SO much! The museum was small but interesting. Got through it in about an hour. Well worth the stop. Hopefully the museum will put in more exhibits. Wish there would have been more about Harpo Studios!
    Written 15 October 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Linds
    Green Bay, WI21 contributions
    So refreshing to interact with such welcoming, friendly, and knowledgeable volunteers and staff members. Everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy answering our questions and showing us the exhibits. Beautiful butterflies, awesome turtles, and more! Great for the whole family
    Written 6 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Pia M
    San Diego, CA98 contributions
    Love love this place! Learn the history of Chicago's South Loop most oldest home. Stuart our guide, knew so much about the family and the city. It is really remarkable to walk through the house and see the "modern" improvements they already had built at the end of the 19th century. If you are in the area, do visit. It's quiet and quaint.
    Written 30 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Porsche S
    3 contributions
    Definitely should come down on the price point, maybe 10-15 worth of exhibits to really see. Kinda bored but made the most of the money spent
    Written 3 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • CharlieinTexas
    Austin, TX3,783 contributions
    I don’t think this is a Museum and Worth going out of your way to see, and there isn’t really very much to see, I think that you’d be hard-pressed to spend an hour here. Nonetheless, I enjoyed our visit. Some pieces that made you think …
    Written 25 July 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Happygoluckyang
    Lansing, MI194 contributions
    This museum was great! Several floors full of paintings, statues, surgical instruments and facts about the first surgeons. Very interesting and well done. The woman at the front desk was delightful. It was a little pricey but worth it!
    Written 24 February 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • NapierAro
    napier485 contributions
    What a little gem this museum is. Good information giving an overview of the settlement and history of Chicago. Particularly interesting were the efforts made to clean up the severe pollution by reversing the flow of the river. Information about the bridge raising mechanism was good also. Very enthusiastic young staff.
    Written 28 October 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • bobx77
    Florida2,319 contributions
    Free parking is around the block!
    Ask at the front desk for directions.

    The adult admission is $ 6 only.
    Therefore you get plenty of information about the Swedish community and why and how emigration and immigration were these days.

    The staff is very helpful and friendly!!

    I do encourage you, to go there and visit this museum!

    If you make it a quick visit and just browse thru the museum = you’ll make it out there under 45 minutes.
    If you take your time and read most of the signs = it’ll take about 90 minutes.

    BTW:
    There is a very good kids museum @ the 3rd floor!!
    Written 6 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Taylor B
    Chicago, IL8,016 contributions
    My wife and I have browsed the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago on previous occasions. But after seeing the display of the Thorne collection at the Phoenix Art Museum during our recent two-week vacation in Arizona, we decided to make another visit to larger Thorne collection in Chicago. It is an exhibit unlike any other, a child's dream. Thorne Miniature Rooms are a set of about 100 miniature models of rooms created between 1932 and 1940 under the direction of Narcissa Niblack Thorne, who was born in 1882 in Vincennes, Indiana. As a child, she began to collect miniature furniture and household accessories. Her uncle, a U.S. Navy vice admiral, sent her many antique dollhouse miniatures from around the world. When she was 19, she married Montgomery Ward department store heir James Ward Thorne, whose fortune helped to finance her hobby. Ninety-nine of the rooms are still believed to be in existence. The majority of them, a total of 68, are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 111 South Michigan Avenue. We saw 20 of them at the Phoenix Art Museum. The Art Institute's rooms document European and American interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and the 17th century to the 1930s, respectively. Constructed on a 1:12 scale, the rooms are largely made of the same materials as full-sized rooms and some even include original works of art, including paintings and sculpture, silver bowls and crystal chandeliers. They are among the most popular attractions at the Art Institute with an authentic appearance and attention to detail that boggles the mind.
    Written 20 November 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • JoEllenChannon
    Wauconda, IL16 contributions
    When you speak to the staff, they are friendly and full of helpful information. They helped me translate some notes from my great grandmother’s photos and I couldn’t be more thankful! The Paderewski room was my favorite - very well done and informative. The collection is interesting and the gift shop is great.
    Written 16 September 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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