Barnes Mansion Tours

Enhance your experience at Burpee Museum.

Burpee Museum is introducing Barnes Mansion tours! Take a walk through time! Visit the house of a prominent Rockford family, and learn about the history of the original museum!

Please check in at the front desk inside Burpee Museum prior to your scheduled tour.


  • Nonmembers: $17 Adults (13+) | $15 Youth (4-12)
  • Members: $5 Adults (+13) & Youth (4-12)
A Historic Home

In 1893, the Williams Fletcher Barnes house was built during a severe economic depression. It was one of the finest homes in Rockford, costing more than $30,000 at the time. A showplace with 15 rooms, a turret, two porticoes, and hand-carved solid cherry paneling in the foyer, reception area, and first-floor hallway. During the building of the home, W.F. Barnes employed local immigrants to assist with the intricate interior woodworking, paying anywhere from $0.50 to $1.00 per day for their labor.

The home was the location for some of the fanciest and most beautiful parties in Rockford. Popular “lawn parties” included an orchestra playing on the front steps of the home. The family inhabited the first and second floors of the home. The basement featured the family’s kitchen, staffed by servants, and food was served by entrances to the living quarters through multiple servant doors coming out of the separate servant hallway.


Preregistration may be done online through Eventbrite or by calling Burpee’s visitor services department (815-965-3433). Walk-ins are welcome to attend as well, but tours have limited space.