The museum offers a variety of educational programs for all ages throughout the year.


Ellwood Explorers

generously funded by the cy miller foundation

Ellwood Explorers is a series of monthly family programs offered from April through December. All programs are free of charge and last approximately one hour. Programs take place rain or shine. Please see below for the 2019 Ellwood Explorers schedule.

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Summer Selections
Saturday, May 11, 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Location: DeKalb Public Library Children’s Department

Long before Sam-I-Am convinced his pal to try green eggs and ham (1960) or a mouse became king of the forest with help from Gruffalo (1999), Alice fell down the rabbit hole to Wonderland (1865), and Peter Pan whisked Wendy and her brothers off to Neverland (1911). While modern children’s books can teach important lessons and spark imagination, stories from the 19th and 20th centuries still captivate readers and listeners and hold true as enduring and entertaining classics.

During our May Ellwood Explorers program, elementary-aged children and their families are invited to hear modern adaptations of favorite stories from the Ellwood family library, take part in an interactive exhibit featuring books from the museum collection, and create their own book plates. Books to take home will be provided by the Friends of the DeKalb Public Library. The program is free to attend, but registration is requested.

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Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore

Adult Lecture Series

presented in partnership with the dekalb county history center

partially funded by the mary e. stevens concert and lecture fund

Brown Bag Lunch /Local Lore is a series of lecture programs related to history, collections care, and historic preservation. Once a month, a knowledgeable speaker will present an hour-long program at a site in DeKalb County. All programs are free of charge and open to the public.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America Exhibit Sneak Preview
Thursday, May 2, 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.
Location: Ellwood House Museum Visitor Center
Speaker: Michelle Donahoe

Join us for our May lecture as Michelle Donahoe, Executive Director of the DeKalb County History Center (DCHC), will provide a sneak preview of the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America, which will be on display at the DCHC from May 11 through June 22.

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School Tours


School field trips are free of charge.

group size

Due to space limitations inside the mansion, the maximum number of students we can accommodate at one time is 45.


We prefer to host field trips in the morning and can begin as early as 9:00 AM. School tours cannot be scheduled for 1:00 PM or 3:00 PM. School tours are available Tuesday through Friday. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Food & Drink

Lunches can be brought and eaten on the grounds. The Hearthside Room in the Visitor Center may be available as a backup in case of inclement weather. Please contact our office for availability.


We appreciate chaperones, but we ask that you limit parent chaperones to 2 adults per visit - not including teachers and staff.

Special Programming

We offer tours specifically designed for grades 2nd through 5th. Please see below for details.

Time Travelers

2nd Grade Program

Students will discover how historical documents and artifacts can lead to answers to historical questions. During a guided tour of the mansion, students will learn how the building itself is a historical artifact that provides a look into the past.

program purpose

Students will be introduced to Isaac Ellwood and the barbed wire industry in DeKalb, learning how barbed wire impacted the lives of the Ellwood family and why Isaac Ellwood was important to the development of DeKalb.

Program Logistics

The program lasts 90 minutes. Please call our office at 815-756-4609 or email Audrey King at king@ellwoodhouse.org for more information or to book this program.

Hard Work


Students see and feel what life was like for those individuals who worked for the Ellwood family around the turn of the twentieth century. While touring the mansion's work areas and staff living quarters, students will try hands-on some of the jobs done by staff members.

program PURPOSE

The program familiarizes students with differences in lifestyle between the Ellwood family and their working class staff. Students will gain an appreciation for the complexity and physicality of working at the Ellwood House. Students will also learn about the immigration experience and how education, language, and practical skills determine the types of jobs available to the Ellwood House staff.


The program lasts 90 minutes. Please call our office at 815-756-4609 or email Audrey King at king@ellwoodhouse.org for more information or to book this program.

Digital Photo Collection

Portions of the museum’s collection of historic photographs have been scanned and uploaded to SmugMug, a digital photo sharing platform. Click the button below to access the collection.