Explore Dubuque’s rich history at our unique historic site, the Mathias Ham House. This historic property is owned and operated by the Dubuque County Historical Society and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Christmas at the Ham House
Made possible through the generosity of Mediacom and Humanities Iowa, the Mathias Ham Historic Site, located at 2241 Lincoln Ave. in Dubuque will host a series of Victorian-themed holiday events from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 24-26 and weekends in December entitled Christmas at the Ham House. Guests will enjoy holiday house tours, complete with Victorian Christmas decorations, light refreshments and themed activities that will change each weekend. Admission is $5 for adults and $3.50 for children for each day or tour, and tickets can be purchased at the door.
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November 24-26: Christmas By Hand
Discover a child’s Victorian Christmas and create holiday crafts. Make old-fashioned presents and cards for family and friends. The Dubuque Chorale will perform on Nov. 25 and 26 from noon to 1:30 p.m.
December 2-3: Deck the Halls
Learn how to decorate for the holidays with Victorian style. On Saturday, Dec. 2, enjoy readings of A Christmas Carol and activities from local storyteller Vince Williams between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The Dubuque Chorale will perform Dec. 2 from noon to 1:30 p.m. and the Americana Band will perform Dec. 3 from noon to 3:30 p.m.
December 9: Candlelight Tours
Tours begin at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., will last approximately one hour and are limited to 12 people. Registration is required in advance by calling the river museum at 563.557.9545 x. 201.
December 9-10: Visions of Sugar Plums
Learn the history of popular Christmas foods and deserts. Carriage rides will be offered from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 10.
December 16-17: T’was the Night Before Christmas
On Saturday, Dec. 16, enjoy readings of T’was the Night Before Christmas from local storyteller Vince Williams between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Santa will at the Ham House on Dec. 17, with carriage rides scheduled between noon and 2:30 p.m.
December 30-31: Ringing in the New Year
Discover the history of New Year’s celebration and what comes after Christmas. Activities yet to be announced.
Mathias Ham House
This stately country villa stands today as a living reflection of its wealthy builder, Mathias Ham. One of Dubuque’s earliest entrepreneurs, Ham build his estate in 1856 with money from his successful lead mining endeavors.
Inside the home, elegant American and European furnishings exemplify the opulent Victorian lifestyle of a booming river town during the Antebellum period. John F. Rague designed this distinctive example of the Italian Villa style of architecture. As architect for the Old State Capitols of Illinois and Iowa, Rague’s buildings were known for their monumental scale and elegance.
Walk the grounds and discover Iowa’s oldest building, an 1833 settler’s log cabin, and visit an authentic one-room schoolhouse. Get a glimpse into life “At the Lead Mines”, stepping back to a time when Dubuque was at the center of a nationally significant lead mining phenomenon. People came from all over the country to mine lead. Living history demonstrators tell that dramatic story at the lead mine and “badger hole” (a lead miner’s dwelling) on the grounds of the Ham House.
Visit the Mathias Ham House
Costumed interpreters provide guided tours through the Mathias Ham House and share the rich history of Mathias Ham, Dubuque, the Mississippi River, and the Victorian era. The 1856 Mathias Ham House historic site is open Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours are 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. (last tour begins at 4 P.M.). The Mathias Ham House is also available for field trips, group visits and private functions at any time by appointment.
Youth (Ages 3-17): $3.50
Children 2 and under admitted free.
Receive a discount when purchasing Ham House tickets in conjunction with a visit to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.
Admission is free to members of the Dubuque County Historical Society. Group rates are available.
For information or to inquire about group reservations, please call 563.557.9545
The Mathias Ham House
2241 Lincoln Avenue