Choose Between Two Options
- $8 for a museum tour for two adults ($16 value)
- $16 for a museum tour for four adults or kids ($32 value)
A 60- to 90-minute guided tour gives visitors a look at the estate of Isaac Ellwood, who helped develop the barbed-wire industry in America. Its visitors center has one of the most comprehensive exhibits on barbed wire, including early barbed-wire advertising. The museum also contains furniture and belongings owned by the Ellwood family, such as a scale-model Victorian home that tour-goers can walk into.
Tours are available at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through November 30. Tours begin in the Visitor Center.
Ellwood House Museum
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Guided tours
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes.
Q&A with the Executive Director
What are the museum's origins?
The museum has been operating since Mrs. Ellwood donated the mansion and property to the DeKalb Park District; currently, the estate consists of seven historic structures and 10 acres. A guided tour takes 60 to 90 minutes. Guided tours are the only option for seeing the museum.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The mansion was built in 1879 from [the] income Isaac Ellwood received from his half ownership in the first barbed-wire manufacturing company.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The 1891 playhouse is a scale model of a Victorian home and once served as a parade float for the builder to showcase his home-building skills. By the late 1800s, it was acquired by the Ellwoods and became a playhouse. Entering the little building is part of the tour, but it is not handicap accessible. There is an 1865 cemetery located just beyond the woods.