Tanner House Museum reopens for summer

May 22, 2023 | Articles & Exhibits, Aurora Historical Society

Decorative image featuring the Tanner House Museum

Tours of the 1857 Tanner House Museum resume May 28 and will be offered every Sunday afternoon of the summer until September 3.  Admission is free, although donations are appreciated.  Hours for the 45-minute tours are 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. 

President of the Aurora Historical Society, Mary Clark Ormond, said the docents leading the tours will be working from a new script this year which puts emphasis on how the house changed from 1857, when the Tanner family moved in with their nine children, to 1934 when the last occupants of the house passed away and the house was donated to the historical society.

“There will be another twist to the tours this summer,” she said.  “Two of our newest docents are descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Tanner.  Corda Murphy is the great-great-granddaughter of William and Anna, and her daughter Jenny Blair is their great-great-great-granddaughter.   There is even another generation who we hope will be on hand occasionally.  Tanner Blair is still in grade school, so we will probably not put her on the spot to give tours, but we always love to see her in the house.”

Ormond said the docent schedule is irregular, so it will not be possible to predict which Sundays the Tanner descendants will be there. 

Other new docents this summer will be Scott Van Kampen, a land surveyor with a particular interest in America’s westward expansion, and librarian Nessa Vahedian of Aurora University.  Later this year, Van Kampen will present a program on the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804) which became the backdrop for the westward movement that played a role in enticing families like the Tanners to come to Illinois.

The Tanner House Museum is at 304 Oak Avenue, the corner of Oak and Cedar Street in the Tanner Historic District. 

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