Plano, IL: Farnsworth House

Visit: Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House is a Mecca for Modernists. We have visited twice, and were fortunate each time to have an almost-private showing, lead by the Center's Director, who is knowledgable and still enthusiastic about this place even after leading hundreds of tours. At the Visitor Center they host a small shop which sells not only books, but a curated collection of dozens of well designed objects.

The have a great information center, which they describe on their website:

"The Sarah J. Hahn Resource Center at the Farnsworth House Visitor Center serves as a repository of information pertaining to the inception, design, construction, restoration, and ongoing preservation of the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House. As such, it maintains an archive of the Farnsworth House history and is active in an ongoing research effort. The Sarah J. Hahn Resource Center is open during regular tour hours and is available to visiting guests and qualified researchers." See the websiter for an outline of the Center's inventory of print and multi media items.

Discoveries: Our great tour guide was able to give us some detail on where the Mies archives were. Sources are not only at the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, but Mies' grandson still has some of the family papers, which we believe he does make available to serious scholars. We subsequently discovered that his personal book collection is held by the University of Illinois, Chicago:

"The Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe Collection contains approximately 600 volumes from the architect's personal library. It includes works about art and architecture, science, history, ethics and philosophy, primarily in English and German."