Lectures and Tours 

Second Presbyterian and the South Loop: A Century of Perspective  
Saturday, September 15, 2018 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Tour Led by Nate Lielasus
Join architect Nate Lielasus for a tour of Second Presbyterian's South Loop.  The tour will focus on contextualizing the church in the neighborhood and looking at how Howard Van Doren Shaw was involved in the neighborhoods change from a high end residential enclave to a bustling industrial district.
Tickets are $20.
 For reservations click here
Rediscovering Chicago’s Legendary Artist Edgar Miller

Tuesday September 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Presentation by Zac Bleicher, Executive Director, Edgar Miller Legacy

Doors will open at 6:00pm for reception and docents will provide tours prior to the lecture.

Edgar Miller’s legacy as an American artistic maverick deserves more attention. He came to Chicago from Idaho in 1916 to study briefly at the renowned School of the Art Institute and then went on to have a storied career creating all kinds of art, commercial and private, throughout the 20th century. A master craftsman as well as a conceptual artist, he was able to translate his ideas into nearly any medium and is often referred to as a “Renaissance Man.”

During the height of his career in the 1920s and 1930s, Miller was friends and collaborated with numerous artists, designers, architects, writers, and civic leaders; he also designed and executed two bohemian artist colony buildings known as Carl Street Studios and Kogen-Miller Studios. In the commercial world, he became a prized decorative artist for top architectural firms like Holabird and Root.

Garnering more attention today is Miller’s Glasner Studio, one of his artistically rehabbed homes celebrated in Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home (City Files Press, 2009). The Studio is a true “total work of art,” a complete synthesis of art forms, and in this way it appeals to and inspires a wide range of artists, designers, and architects, as well as writers, musicians, and performing artists.

This lecture will hone in on a “best of” history of Miller’s broad and deep oeuvre and also discuss the preservation efforts to keep Miller’s incredibly unique history intact and vibrant for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

A partner program of the Terra Foundation’s Art Design Chicago; co-sponsored by Glessner House Museum.

Tickets are $10

 To purchase tickets go to:


Open House Chicago

Saturday October 13, 2018 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Sunday October 14, 2018 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm


Basement to Belfry: Halloween Edition

Saturday, October 27, 2018 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Architect Nate Lielasus will provide a Basement to Belfry tour of the church with some spooky delights mixed in. During this  tour at Second Presbyterian, guests will be given a behind the scenes look at areas of the church not typically visited on regular tours, from the basement dirt floor to the charred roof timbers. The tour will focus on original architectural features from the 1874 construction and evidence of changes during Shaw's reconstruction. Please know there are narrow and steep stairs and uneven ground.

Tickets are $20

For reservations go to:


The World's Columbian Exposition in Music and Story

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Step back in time 125 years to relive the grandeur and majesty that was the World's Columbian Exposition. The Fair was attended by 27 million people between May and October 1893 and secured Chicago's place as a world-class city.

This very special performance will feature musical selections related to the fair, performed on the historic 4 manual Austin organ of Second Presbyterian Church by its music director Michael Shawgo. Music was an integral part of the fair, ranging from formal concerts by the Exposition Orchestra led by Theodore Thomas, to six-weeks of band concerts led by John Philip Sousa. The Midway introduced Fair visitors to a variety of music from around the world, much of which had never been heard in the United States.

October 28th also marks the 125th anniversary of the assassination of five-time Chicago mayor Carter H. Harrison, Sr. The tragic event sent the city into deep mourning and the elaborate celebration planned to close the Fair just two days later was replaced by a large public memorial service.

Commentary during the performance will provide a rich variety of stories about the Fair, its impact on Chicago and the world, and how Chicagoans honored their fallen mayor as the Fair drew to a close.

Doors will open at 2:00pm for docent-led tours of the National Historic Landmark sanctuary. A reception will feature selected food items introduced at the Fair, including brownies which were developed at the request of Bertha Palmer. A small exhibit of Fair memorabilia will be on display.

This event is co-sponsored by Glessner House Museum and Friends of Historic Second Church.

Tickets are $25 per person / $20 for members

For tickets go to:


Chicago Craftsmen and Second Presbyterian Church

Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Presentation by: William Tyre, Executive Director and Curator of Glessner House Museum

Following a devastating fire in 1900, architect Howard Van Doren Shaw was hired to redesign the sanctuary of Second Presbyterian Church.  He engaged a number of leading Chicago craftsmen who shared Shaw's vision for a unified interior that exemplified the tenets of the Arts & Crafts movement.  This program will begin with a PowerPoint presentation discussing the team that Shaw assembled, and their work at the church and at other sites around the city.  Following the presentation, Tyre will lead attendees through the sanctuary pointing out significant artistic features by muralist Frederic Clay Bartlett, lighting designer Willy Lau, sculptor Frederick Purdy and others.  

This special lecture and tour is being presented as a partner program with Art Design Chicago, a citywide celebration of the city's art and design legacy spearheaded by the Terra Foundation. To learn more, visit

Tickets are $10

For tickets:


*All photos by Martin Cheung unless otherwise noted

*Interior sanctuary photo by James Caulfield