Museum PR Announcements News and Information

DRIEHAUS MUSEUM REOPENS JOHN B. MURPHY MEMORIAL AUDITIORIUM, A NEW CITY OF CHICAGO LANDMARK: With restoration now complete, visitors are invited to the Driehaus Museum for free admission from June 21-23

The Driehaus Museum is proud to announce that its John B. Murphy Memorial Auditorium has received City of Chicago landmark designation. The Driehaus Museum is now comprised of two landmarked buildings – the 1926 Murphy Auditorium and the 1883 Nickerson Mansion. Following the Museum’s restoration of the historic building, it will officially reopen the Murphy Auditorium as part of its campus on June 21.

According to Driehaus Executive Director Lisa Key, “It is thrilling for us to complete this important renovation creating a new Museum campus, offering visitors not only an incredible museum of art, architecture, and design, but now a newly rejuvenated auditorium that will add a vital and dynamic public space to the cultural campus in Chicago that will continue to increase the historical profile of this great city of architecture.” Key added, “It was museum founder, Richard H. Driehaus, who had the vision to combine these historic buildings into one museum campus. We are so happy this vision has come to fruition and now this expansion allows us to extend our work outward in the larger community.”

“It was a huge relief to learn about the Driehaus Museum expanding its campus into the adjacent Murphy Memorial. There are not many options for finding an appropriate re-use that would respect the historic character of such a monumentally scaled historic building while at same time providing a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood,” said Tim Samuelson, the Cultural Historian Emeritus of the City of Chicago. “The Driehaus Museum has been a thoughtful community partner and valuable neighborhood asset for the past twenty years, and its expansion into the Murphy makes something great even greater!”

To become a more accessible and visible part of the community and Chicago’s cultural landscape, starting June 26, the Driehaus Museum will offer expanded hours and free admission on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7pm. The restoration project also refreshed the Museum’s amenities including a larger coat check and renovated bathrooms. Guests to the Museum will now enter through the Murphy’s Tiffany-designed doors at 50 East Erie, and the Museum’s address will officially change to 50 East Erie.

Antunovich and Associates and Bulley & Andrews, both of whom were involved in the extensive renovation of the Nickerson Mansion from 2003-2008, were the architecture and building partners for the Murphy Auditorium. The opening of the updated building will present a full suite of new programming tied to the Driehaus Museum’s strategic vision, along with a range of activities and events, both public and private, for the community.

Located at 50 East Erie, the six-story, 32,193-square-foot French Renaissance-style building, purchased by the Driehaus Museum in 2022, was built between 1923 and 1926 by the American College of Surgeons. Designed by noted Chicago architects Benjamin Marshall and Charles E. Fox of Marshall and Fox, the Murphy was used originally to host meetings and serve as a center for education in surgery. Its iconic exterior is Marshall’s interpretation of the double-columned, two-story façade and flanking entry staircase of the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Consolation (1900) in Paris.

The building features a pair of cast bronze doors designed by Tiffany Studios at the front entrance, comprised of six panels depicting prominent figures in the history of medicine. It also has a towering, multicolored stained-glass window inside the auditorium. It was built as a memorial to founding member John B. Murphy, MD, FACS. Dr. Murphy was regarded worldwide as the greatest clinical educator of his generation, and known for performing a life-saving surgery on President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.

Chicago Collects: Jewelry In Perspective
May 23 to September 23, 2024
Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective is an exhibition of over two hundred pieces of rare and historically significant jewelry from the 17th century to the present, all from prominent Chicago collections. This first-of-its- kind exhibition includes a range of never-seen-before jewelry and decorative arts objects from the Richard H. Driehaus Collection alongside objects from the Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, and the Lizzardo Museum of Lapidary Art, among loans from other Chicago collections. The exhibition is organized by jewelry historian and author Elyse Zorn Karlin, guest curator of the Museum’s popular 2015 exhibition Maker and Muse: Women and 20th Century Art Jewelry.

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Image: Driehaus Museum: Nickerson Mansion (left) and Murphy Auditorium (right)