History Classifieds: Ladies Maid and Butler at the Driehaus House

Mrs. WIlliams

Mrs. Williams

This past holiday season saw many new additions to programs at numerous museums and historical sites throughout Chicago. One of the more interactive and historically accurate  was the Help Wanted, a living history program at the Driehaus House Museum. Living history meaning to travel back in time to the year of 1899.  It was a delightful and fresh take on Gilded Age America from the servant’s perspective.

The year is 1899 and Mrs. Williams, the house manager greets you as prospective domestic servants interviewing for the following positions Butler, Coachman, Footman, Cook, House Main, Laundry Main, Ladies Maid, and Kitchen Maid at the Nickerson home. The program utilizes the women of the tour group more than the gentlemen  In several cases, tests were IMG_0468conducted for the ladies interviewing for the Cook position on how to make plum pudding and for those ladies seeking the Ladies Maid position an overall look of a small nose and a wide forehead were thought to be the best recommendations of a proper ladies maid.

The group receives a tour of the mansion from a servants thoughts and feelings and sees the house in full holiday regalia  This tour is not IMG_0460recommended for those who have not visited before. If this is your first tour of the house brush up on your history. Have fun getting to know Mrs. Williams  and tell her CMB says hello next time your in need of an interview!IMG_0464

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