CURRENT HOURS: CLOSED FOR GENERAL SEASON; OPEN MAY 1, 2018

Historic Home Tours

Explore historic architecture, domestic life, and all of the elements that made a house a home over the past 300 years with a guided group tour through one of our many historic buildings. Reservations required 30 days in advance. Schedules are based on availability. Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25. To check availability or if you have questions, email hometours@lhf.org or give us a call at (515)278-5286 x 158.

Victorian Domestic Spaces Tour

Historic lamp glowsVictorian Americans planned their homes very differently than our modern open-concept spaces. Join Living History Farms staff for a guided tour of the historic Italianate styled Flynn Mansion and Carpenter Gothic styled Tangen Home. Participants will meet at the Living History Farms Visitor Center for a seated introduction to Victorian decorative styles, inside and out. The group will then walk to the historic homes on the LHF grounds for a 45 minute tour of the historic Flynn Mansion, built in 1870 and then a 45 minute tour of the Tangen House. Discussion will focus on what Victorians felt was needed for a proper home design, architecture preferences, furnishing choices, and support systems. Participants should be able to walk a moderate distance over uneven ground (approximately 2 city blocks) and be able to climb a staircase to the second floor of the Flynn Mansion.

  • $12.00 per person (fee required for everyone aged 2 and over)
  • Two and a half hour program
  • Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25
Season Dates Tours may be scheduled to begin
(email or call for availability)
Winter/Spring January – April 9:00 am – 2:30 pm
Summer May 1 – mid-October Monday-Saturday, 4:00 pm; Sunday: 9:00 am or 4:00 pm
Fall Mid-October – December 31 9:00 am – 2:30 pm

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Meet the Flynns: A Guided Mansion Tour

Outside of the Flynn Mansion

The historic Flynn Mansion was built in 1870 for Martin and Ellen Flynn. Join Living History Farms staff for a guided tour of their grand country home. The tour will introduce this historic Des Moines family and showcase the Victorian styling of this restored 15 room Italianate home. Guides will share insights into the family’s business and social history and discuss Victorian decorating tastes. Participants should be able to walk a moderate distance over uneven ground (approximately a half city block) across the home’s front lawn and be able to climb a staircase to the second floor.

  • $8.00 per person (fee required for everyone aged 2 or over)
  • One hour program
  • Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25
Season Dates Tours may be scheduled to begin
(email or call for availability)
Winter/Spring January – April 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Summer May 1 – mid-October Monday-Saturday, 8:00 am or 4:00 pm; Sunday: 10:00 am or 4:00 pm
Fall Mid-October – December 31 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

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Victorian Mind Your Manners Tour

How do you hold your tea cup? Should you tip your hat to a lady or take it off Women in period clothing at the Flynn Mansionentirely? Which fork do you use to eat the fish course? Intrigued by the rules and fashions of Victorian life? Join Living History Farms staff for an exploration of the proper manners for a family of means in Victorian Iowa. Participants will meet at the Living History Farms Visitor Center for a seated introduction to Victorian entertaining and manners. The group will then carpool to the historic Flynn Mansion, built in 1870. The group will receive a guided house tour and will also practice etiquette in the parlor and dining rooms through engaging hands-on activities. Participants should be able to walk a moderate distance over uneven ground (approximately a half city block) across the home’s front lawn and be able to climb a staircase to the second floor of the Flynn Mansion.

  • $12.00 per person (fee required for everyone aged 2 and over)
  • Two hour and a half hour program
  • Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25
Season Dates Tours may be scheduled to begin
(email or call for availability)
Winter/Spring January – April 9:00 am – 11:30 am or 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Summer May 1 – mid-October Monday-Saturday, 4:00 pm; Sunday: 9:00 am or 4:00 pm
Fall Mid-October – December 31 9:00 am – 2:30 pm

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Life in 1900: Farm and Home Tour

Windmill at 1900 FarmThe turn of the 20th century is often considered a golden age for Iowa farmers. What did that mean for house comforts? For machinery and livestock care? Explore life for an Iowa farming family with a guided visit to the 1900 era horse-power farm at Living History Farms. Farm staff will lead guests through the house and barn yard, focusing discussion on the house styles, new inventions, livestock buildings, and practical work patterns used on a farm in 1900. Guests will also meet the livestock raised on a farm of that period. Participants will meet at the Murray Conference Center and then car-pool to the 1900 Farm.

  • $12.00 per person (fee required for everyone aged 2 and over)
  • One hour and a half hour program
  • Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25
Season Dates Tours may be scheduled to begin
(email or call for availability)
Spring March – April Wednesday – Sunday, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Summer June 1 – mid-October Monday-Sunday, 4:00 pm
Fall November – December Wednesday – Sunday, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

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Pioneer Life: Farm and Home Tour

1850 barnIowa settlers in the 1840s and 1850s gave up the comforts of the east to make new lives for themselves in Iowa’s frontier lands. Discover the challenges and comforts of life in a log house with a guided visit to the 1850 Pioneer Farm at Living History Farms. Farm staff will lead guests through the log house and barn yard, focusing discussion on log construction, domestic routines, Iowa settlement patterns, and agricultural work. Guests will also meet the livestock raised on a farm of that period. Participants will meet at the Murray Conference Center and then car-pool to the 1850 parking area. Participants should be able to walk a moderate distance over uneven ground (approximately a two city blocks) and be able to stand for the duration of this mostly outdoor tour.

  • $12.00 per person (fee required for everyone aged 2 and over)
  • One hour and a half hour program
  • Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25
Season Dates Tours may be scheduled to begin
(email or call for availability)
Spring April Wednesday – Sunday, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Summer June 1 – mid-October Monday-Sunday, 4:00 pm
Fall Mid-October – December 31 Wednesday – Sunday, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

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1700 Ioway Farm: Housing and Culture Tour

Mat lodge at 1700 FarmThe Ioway Native American peoples were some of Iowa’s first farmers. Explore the 1700 era Ioway Farm during this guided tour and discover the dwellings, foodways, and farming traditions of this complex prairie culture. Farm staff will lead guests through the lodges, cooking areas, hide processing areas and gardens of this farming site, introducing the Ioway culture and language. Guests will have a chance to taste bison jerky and learn a traditional Ioway story. Participants will meet at the Murray Conference Center and then car-pool to the 1850 parking area. Participants should be able to walk a moderate distance over uneven ground and be able to stand for the duration of this outdoor tour.

  • $12.00 per person (fee required for everyone aged 2 and over)
  • One hour program
  • Group Minimum of 10, Group Maximum of 25
Season Dates Tours may be scheduled to begin
(email or call for availability)
Summer June 1 – Mid-October  Monday – Sunday, 3:30 pm

Reserve this tour