Visitor Experience

  • Education Center

    Education Center

    • ​The exhibits here provide an overview of the Mansion and those who have called it home. They also challenge us to take an active, positive role in our democracy.
  • Governor's Office

    Governor's Office

    • ​This room has been used by governors as their Mansion office since the 1970s. Over the years several other spaces had served as the governor's workplace here.
    • The governors have also had an office at the capitol building in Springfield, and later one in Chicago as well. Some much preferred their Mansion office to the others.
  • Music Room

    Music Room

    • ​This room has often been a first stop for visitors attending public receptions. It may be here that in 1872 Gov. John M. Palmer received African American leader Frederick Douglass, likely the first African American to be welcomed to the Mansion as a guest.
  • State Dining Room

    State Dining Room

    • ​The State Dining Room has been a center of entertainment from the Mansion's earliest days. Here governors and first ladies have shared ideas with lawmakers and community leaders from across the state and the nation.
  • Ballroom/Civics Library

    Ballroom/Civics Library

    • ​These rooms serve as a center for programs that support our mission of raising awareness of civic responsibility and inspiring action that will strengthen our democracy - especially among young people.
    • A special atmosphere is created by the library's finely­ crafted woodwork created in the 1970s by an Illinois master craftsman.
  • West Gallery

    West Gallery

    • ​​Governors have shaped history in this room. Here Gov. John P. Altgeld considered the fate of men convicted by the Haymarket bombing trial. Here too in 1936 Gov. Henry Horner met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to discuss aid for drought-stricken farmers.
  • West Parlor

    West Parlor

    • ​In 1865 Gen. Ulysses S. Grant stood in this room to greet well-wishers. The Civil War hero was the guest of Gov. Richard J. Oglesby, who had served as brigade commander under Grant.
  • Civil Rights Suite - ­Governor's Bedroom

    Civil Rights Suite - Governor's Bedroom

    • ​Governors living and working in these rooms struggled to end slavery across the nation and to bring hope for greater civil rights to African Americans living in Illinois.
    • Gov. Richard Yates, who led Illinois' response to the Civil War, often paced these floors on learning of battles involving thousands of Illinoisans.
  • Civil Rights Suite­Governor's Sitting Room

    Civil Rights Suite­Governor's Sitting Room

    • ​At the close of the Civil War, Gov. Richard J. Oglesby urged Illinois lawmakers to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to repeal the worst of the state's racist Black Laws.
    • From 1865 until his own death Oglesby worked to enshrine Abraham Lincoln as an icon of civil leadership.
  • Second Floor Parlor

    Second Floor Parlor

    • ​Gov. Oglesby faced troubling new issues when Illinois' rise as an industrial power brought conflict between workers and management. He struggled here over whether to show mercy to men convicted by the Haymarket bombing trial.
    • The room's decoration is an example of efforts over the decades to make the Mansion an elegant symbol of our state and its people.
  • Columbian Exposition Sitting Room

    Columbian Exposition Sitting Room

    • ​Chicago became a center of world attention during the spectacular 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, attended by over 20 million people. Visitors to the Illinois Building at the Exposition could view pieces of elaborately hand-carved furniture that are seen in this room.
    • During the fair Gov. John P. Altgeld raised a storm by freeing the surviving men convicted by the Haymarket trial.
  • Columbian Exposition Bedroom

    Columbian Exposition Bedroom

    • ​The Columbian Exposition drew visitors from around the world to Chicago, the great hub of a system of railroads that spanned North America.
    • The fair and its displays and programs offered many Americans the chance to encounter cultures they had not experienced before.
  • Lincoln Room

    Lincoln Room

    • ​Decorated in an 1850s style, this room was home in the 1930s to the Lincoln collection of Gov. Henry Horner as he struggled against the effects of the Great Depression.
    • Abraham Lincoln visited the Mansion often during the late 1850s as an adviser to Gov. William H. Bissell.
  • Children's Room

    Children's Room

    • ​This room was used by many children and grandchildren who called the Mansion home. Some later went into public service as their fathers had, among them a governor and our first woman state senator.
  • Governor's Dining Room

    Governor's Dining Room

    • ​Sitting in this room Gov. Adlai Stevenson II learned in November 1952 that he would not become president of the United States. He soon rose above that defeat to become a leader on the world stage .