Extensive and eclectic, Lightner Museum’s permanent collection encompasses 20,000 objects, including fine art and decorative art, folk art, natural history, and material culture dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The diverse collection was amassed by Otto Lightner, publisher of Hobbies magazine, and reflects his fascination with collecting. In 1934, Lightner opened a museum in a Romanesque mansion on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, filling the space with art and objects purchased from many of Chicago’s grandest Gilded Age mansions during the Great Depression. Following a stay at St. Augustine’s Ponce de Leon Hotel in 1946, Lightner selected the former Alcazar Hotel to serve as the permanent home for his collection.
Today the collection is displayed over four floors of the magnificent Alcazar Hotel.