Museums

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum Rockford

Where is it at?

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Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum
411 Kent St
Rockford
IL
61102
Tel: 815 964 2424

Directions

The cottage is found at 411 Kent Street at Rockford. There is parking around the back of the barn.

Where are we going today?

The USA is full of history, and some history you might not know about! The Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum is an incredible treasure trove of a time gone by. Built all the way back in 1865 by business man Robert Hall Tinker (that's a pretty long time ago!), the house is perched high on a limestone bluff which overlooks the very pretty Kent Creek.

The inspiration came from his 1982 visit to Switzerland, which kids, is in Europe, where he loved the look of those very postcard looking Swiss cottages. And Tinker Swiss Cottage was born!

Now, it's only one of a handful of very beautiful and historic Swiss-style homes from the 1800s that exist in the entire country! So it's certainly a home worth exploring.

The cottage is filled with beautiful Victorian Era furnishing and artifacts, which are all part of the collection that was left by the Tinker family. 27 acres of vines, trees, and flowers surround the cottage, so you certainly will be in for a nature filled day out!

During your time at the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, it's not all about the cottage - but it's certainly all about history! Did you know that the museum campus actually contains an Indian Burial Mound? This Pre-Columbian conical mound has been dates to between 1000 - 1300 ACE (about 1000 years ago!) so that's pretty impressive.

The grounds also has a Victorian Rose Garden, as well as a suspension bridge which crosses the creek, and connects the Museum  to the gardens. It also links to the founding site of Rockford - a pretty important mark! 

For more education, try and visit during some of the museums events - from life as a domestic servant in the 19th century, to the paranormal in the cottage! Spooky! Of course, there are really fun nights like the Murder Mystery evenings. Who donnit!

History, architecture, and fascination will all be a part of your day at the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum. Let us know if you spot a ghost! Boo!

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How much does it cost?

  • Adults$7
  • Children$5
  • Free Under: 5 years.
LAST UPDATED 2015

When can we go?

Tours: Tuesday through Sunday at 1pm and 3pm.

Closed New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day Weekend,

Teachers corner

For $5 per student there are tours of the cottage, and for $6 they get a topic focused tour with a hands-on activity. One adult is $7 per 10 students. They will take you through a guided tour and explore all three levels. An amazing experience for kids. .

Any Top Tips?

No flash photography permitted, handling artifacts and touching furniture prohibited too, so give consideration as to whether your kids would be happy on this tour..

Doing our bit

The museum are dedicated to preserving the history, and telling the stories of the Tinker family. Help them out by following their no touching rules and taking care of all the amazing items on display! .

Need a little extra help?

Due to the nature of the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, accessibility is limited. There are no ramps leading into the museum nor elevators inside the museum.

The Barn, where all tours begin, is wheel chair accessible. A wheelchair is also available free of charge. Visitors using wheelchairs or strollers may be dropped off at the Barn, with free handicapped parking nearby.

For those requiring assistance with hearing, vision or other disabilities, you must contact the Museum no less than 48 hours in advance for suitable accommodation..

Can I get one of those?

There is a Museum Store on site for gifts and souvenirs - great to continue your education back home about this amazing part of history! .

More information

Any of the lectures are $5 on Saturday afternoons at 1pm, but are free for members or volunteers!.

What people are saying?

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    My family and I went to the tinker house hoping to see some paranormal activity and ended up getting what we wanted and more. When we first got there we expected to not see anything but looked in a window and saw and tall dark shadow figure with a long beard pacing back and forth in the room. That scared us quite a bit but we still kept looking. We ended up finding a open door that led up too the front door. We stayed there for a few minutes hoping to see or hear something but nothing happened. Then we left and closed the door and went to the...Read More

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Submit a review

by Carson Baron

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My family and I went to the tinker house hoping to see some paranormal activity and ended up getting what we wanted and more. When we first got there we expected to not see anything but looked in a window and saw and tall dark shadow figure with a long beard pacing back and forth in the room. That scared us quite a bit but we still kept looking. We ended up finding a open door that led up too the front door. We stayed there for a few minutes hoping to see or hear something but nothing happened. Then we left and closed the door and went to the side of the house and there we tried contacting a ghost but instead of hearing a ghost we heard a door squeking. We got suspicious so we went to the door that we just closed and we found the door open. Then we walked over to the guest and while leaving to go to the guest house we heard whispering. It sounded like two people were having a conversation but no one was there. When we got to the guest house there was a glowing red light in one of the rooms. We looked through the window to try and locate where it was coming from but we couldn't figure it out. After going to the guest house we left in total shock at what we had seen and heard. That night will be a night I will always remember.

The Weather

Thursday

Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Temp: 69° F / 21° C
Humidity: 62 %
Wind: NNE - 20 MPH

Friday

Conditions: Chance of Rain
Temp: 64° F / 18° C
Humidity: 80 %
Wind: NNE - 14 MPH

Saturday

Conditions: Chance of Rain
Temp: 68° F / 20° C
Humidity: 78 %
Wind: NE - 8 MPH

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