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Special Events
Coffee in the Garden at Barker Mansion

Coffee in the Garden at Barker MansionBack again this summer, the public is invited to Coffee in the Garden at Barker Mansion. The casual program is free of charge and runs from 9 am to 11:30 am on Saturday mornings through September 5. Guests are invited to relax amid the sights and sounds of the formal garden which features sculptures, a pergola, wicker chairs, and a fountain pool. Coffee is available for a $1 donation and sweets are free of charge. Last year, it was popular for visitors to shop at the nearby Farmer’s Market before heading over to the mansion.

Barker Mansion is located at 631 Washington Street in Michigan City, IN. The 38-room mansion was built by freight car industrialist and philanthropist John H. Barker in 1905. Aside from Coffee in the Garden sessions, guided tours of the mansion are offered. Cost for a tour is $5 per adult and $2 per child. Reservations are not necessary for regular tours.



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Behind the Scenes Look at Barker Mansion

Old Summer Kitchen in Basement of Barker MansionHave you ever wondered what’s behind the scenes at the historic Barker Mansion? The last Nuts and Bolts Tour of the season will take participants into the nooks and crannies of the building which are normally off-limits. Guests will discover remnants of the past such as the central vacuum system, the furnace, and intricate electrical panels. Guests will visit the basement and use back stairways.

The Barker Mansion is located at 631 Washington Street in Michigan City, IN. The 38-room mansion was built by freight car industrialist and philanthropist John H. Barker in 1905. Barker took advantage of the mansion’s location right next to the Haskell and Barker Car Company, bringing many of the factory’s advanced mechanical amenities to the home.

Advance registration is required for the Nuts and Bolts Tour which takes place on Wednesday, September 16 at 7 pm. A special Barker Mansion flashlight will be included with the tour fee of $10, which will allow for up-close investigation. Call (219) 873-1520 to reserve your space.


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Kids’ Nature Program at Barker Mansion

Kids’ Nature Program at Barker MansionA fall nature program will be offered to children at Barker Mansion on September 17. A continuation of the summer series, Kids’ Nature Play in the Garden, the program will be moved to an after school time slot and begin at 3:30 pm. Autumn leaves will be the topic of the session, which will include a story, snack time, and an art project. The hour-long program will encourage youth to explore nature just as Catherine Barker may have done as a young girl.

The interactive session is ideal for ages 10 and under and will be led by Indiana Master Naturalist Cookie Ferguson. A $2 fee per child applies; each accompanying adult is free. Registration is not necessary. The program will be moved indoors if raining.




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First Fridays at Barker Mansion

Enjoy First Fridays at Barker Mansion on October 2 and November 6 from 5-8 pm. Stroll through select first-floor rooms of the mansion and meet our featured artist. Barker Mansion tea and homemade Victorian-era treats will be served. Event is free of charge.


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Barker Birthday Bash

It’s our first-ever birthday bash! Join us on October 10 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm as we celebrate 40 years of being on the National Register of Historic Places. This family-friendly event features old-fashioned games, crafts for the kids, cake, and more. Cost is $2 per person. Reservations not needed. This event is sponsored by The Friends of Barker Civic Center.


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Sweetest Day Deal

Bring your sweetie for the 1 pm mansion tour on Sweetest Day October 17 and receive a buy-one-get-one-free admission when you give ‘em a smooch at check-in!


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A Victorian Hallow's Eve

Step back in time and celebrate Halloween like the Barker family would have done over 100 years ago. This family-friendly, non-scary event on October 31 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm will feature Victorian era games and traditions. Cost is $2 per person; those arriving in costume receive free admission.


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Christmas is Almost Here & We Need Your Help!

Would you like to help decorate the mansion for Christmas? We’ll begin in November. Call (219) 873-1520 or email for details.


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Educational Tours and Programs Available at the Barker Mansion

A Historic Setting for your Fairytale DayA visit to Michigan City’s Barker Mansion enriches students’ knowledge of Indiana’s industrial heritage, the early history of Michigan City and surrounding area, and the role of the Barker family. Barker Mansion features exceptional programs that meet our state educational standards, as well as students’
requirements for fun!

We offer programs in Victorian lifestyles, early 1900’s school life, and clue problem solving skills. These individual tour topics can be designed to fit the Indiana Standards or individual curriculum needs. Because of time limitations, only one topic is offered per tour. If a large group wants to visit, arrangements can be made with other local museums or the Washington Park Zoo to alternate our program with their programs so your students have many opportunities to learn during their trip.

The Historic Mansion Tourbegins with an introductory video about the history of Michigan City and the Barker family. A tour of the mansion and gardens (weather permitting) follows, highlighting the Barker furnishings and the lifestyle of a well- to-do Victorian family. This tour is suitable for kindergarten through high school and is offered from February through October.

The Early 1900’s Schoolroom Touris a hands-on turn-of-the-century classroom program presented in Catherine Barker’s third- floor schoolroom. A slate board is provided for each child to complete classroom activities. Games, singing, and reciting exercises are also included. This tour is suitable for grades 3-5 and is limited to thirty students; it is offered from February through October.

The Clue Gameis a lesson in following directions as students complete a word search puzzle. They solve the mystery of the theft of Barker silver by recording clues found throughout the Mansion in a “detective log booklet.” This game is suitable for grades 3-6, is limited to thirty students, and is offered from February through October.


631 Washington Street, Michigan City, Indiana 46360

Reservations are required for all tours. A special school admission rate is $1 for students and $2 for aides and accompanying adults;
one teacher per class is admitted at no charge.






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