We offer guided tours of both the mansion and neighboring Ellwood-Nehring House. The Visitor Center, located behind the mansion, contains four exhibit galleries which are free and open to the public year-round. Please see LEARN for more information about educational programming and school tours and EVENTS for our special events schedule.



All historic house tours last approximately one hour and start inside the Visitor Center. Please see below for the tour schedule and admission prices.

GUIDED mansion TOUR schedule (MARCH 1 - NOVEMBER 14)

A guided tour through 3 floors and the basement of the 1879 mansion

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Saturday: 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, & 3:00 PM

HIGHLIGHTS TOUR schedule (march 1 - NOVEMBER 14)

A guided tour of the first floor levels of both the mansion and the neighboring Ellwood-Nehring House

Friday & Saturday: 2:00 PM

regular GUIDED TOUR admission prices

$8: Adults
$7: Students, Seniors (Ages 65+), AAA Members, Military
$6: National Trust Members, Midwest Museum of Natural History Members (Adults)
$4: Northern Illinois University Honors Students
$3: Youth (Ages 6-17)
$2: Midwest Museum of Natural History Members (Youth)
Free: Ellwood House Members, Children Under 6

large group tours

Tours for groups of ten or more may be scheduled in advance. Due to the larger group size, tours take approximately 90 minutes. Please call 815-756-4609 or email for reservations.

Photography & Video Policy 

Exterior photography on the grounds is allowed. No permits or fees are required, but large groups are encouraged to call in advance. Interior photography is prohibited everywhere except the Visitor Center. 

Holiday decorated mansion tours (November 15 - 30)

A guided tour through 3 floors and basement level of the elegantly decorated 1879 mansion. Guided tours take approximately 60 minutes.

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM
Friday - Sunday: 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, & 3:00 PM

2019 holiday event weekend

Friday, December 6: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Saturday, December 7: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, December 8: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Holiday tour & event admission prices

$10: Adults
$5: Youth (Ages 6-17)
Free: Ellwood House Members, Children Under 6

the museum will be closed the following holidays in 2019

Tuesday, January 1 for New Year’s Day
Sunday, April 21 for Easter
Sunday, May 12 for Mother's Day
Thursday, July 4 for Independence Day
Thursday, November 28 for Thanksgiving
Tuesday, December 24 for Christmas Eve
Wednesday, December 25 for Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 31 for New Year’s Eve


The first floors of the mansion and Ellwood-Nehring House are wheelchair accessible. Both levels of the Visitor Center are wheelchair accessible


The Visitor Center galleries are free and open to the public year-round. Exhibits include a variety of long- and short- term displays.

visitor center hours (march - november)

Tuesday - Sunday: 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM

visitor center hours (December - february)

Tuesday - Friday: 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Depicting DeKalb County
May 21 - July 7, 2019

The museum is celebrating the beauty and complexity of DeKalb County by hosting an exhibition of artwork created by local artists. Twenty-one artists will showcase their work from May 21 to July 7, 2019 in the second-floor museum galleries of the Visitor Center. An opening reception will be held from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM on May 23.


Gary Bellert, Carol Bingham*, Larry L. Bond, Richard Born, Pam Bradford, Cliff Cleland, Richard M. Cooler, Tracy Coyle, Noel (Brye) Davis, Daniel Grych, Jordyn Jackson, Sara Lamberty, Christine Myroth, Tim O’Shaughnessy, Linda Thornton Peterson, Alec Rossiter, Tamara Shriver*, Alfred Stark, Barbara L. Taylor, Sarah Tobias*, Steven Tritt*

*Artist with work featured on graphic below

Depicting DeKalb County Postcard Preview-1.jpg


Situated on a ten-acre estate, the museum campus features grassy lawns, a wooded area, formal gardens, two native garden areas, and the Berg Garden. The gardens reflect two generations of the Ellwood family and incorporate changing ideas about architecture and the landscape. Influenced by Harriet Ellwood’s passion for Victorian collecting of exotic plant types and May Ellwood’s pursuit of an Arts and Crafts garden, the grounds are a perfect place to explore. The gardens and grounds are open dawn to dusk and can be explored seven days a week without a tour guide.