Specialty Tours

Available Seasonally & by Request

  1. Slavery to Emancipation
    The politics of the anti-slavery movement shaped not only the public career of Mr. Seward, but also loomed over his entire family dynamic. Find out how various members of the Seward family opposed slavery during this unique tour.
  2. The Lincoln Tour: A Friendship that Shaped a Generation
    Learn more about a friendship that reshaped the course of American history. Secretary of State Seward was generally considered “President Lincoln’s right hand,” a trusted advisor and confidant among the administration’s famed the “team of rivals." Discover the nature of their relationship on this special tour.
  3. (He)Art of the House
    The fabulous and fascinating artwork of the Seward House moves from the backdrop to the foreground in this art-centric tour. Learn how aesthetics framed the world—and home—of the Seward family, as well as which artists and art movements caught their eyes.
  4. Speaking for Themselves: The Women of the Seward Family
    Explore the lives of the ladies of the Seward family. Drawing on their personal diaries and letters, this tour offers insight into the politics of gender relations, the women’s rights movement, and the social customs of the Antebellum and Civil War periods.
  5. Mourning or Macabre?: Victorian Death Rites
    The massive scale of death wrought by the Civil War changed the ways Americans grieved for their lost loved ones. Learn more about these curious customs during a nocturnal tour of the Museum. Guided by flickering candlelight, guides explore how the Sewards participated in Victorian death rituals at a time when the family often found itself beset by personal tragedy and loss.
  6. Around the World with Mr. Seward
    Long before the days of the travel blog, William Seward recorded his impressions of his several global voyages in journals, which were later published as W.H. Seward Travels Around the World. Borrowing from Seward’s own accounts and showcasing rarely-seen collection items from the Museum, this specialty tour focuses on the travels and travails of one of America’s first international tourists.
  7. Mr. Seward’s Junior Detective Tour
    A tour designed especially for four and five year olds. Led by retired teachers, this unique experience offers children the chance to explore the first floor of the Museum following clues that lead to distinctive artifacts. Once they discover the artifact (and check it off their list), junior gumshoes are told brief stories about each historical object.  When all the special objects have been found, a prize and an award await them from the Seward family.  This 30 minute interactive tour is an exciting activity that will open the world of museums children, making it an inspiring adventure.
  8. The Civil War
    Focusing on the wartime actions of the entire Seward family, this specialty tour traces the history of the Civil War through a most intimate lens. Follow the various members of the family through the conflict that divided a nation, and learn how each bore witness and participated in the struggle to preserve the union.
  9. Historic Grounds & Gardens Tour
    This newly-designed outdoor walking tour through the historic Seward family grounds reveals untold stories and describes Mr. Seward’s romantic vision for his sprawling acres. In his commitment to “wild nature,” Seward hoped to create a space of refuge and tranquility, an escape capable of transporting him far from the travails of his political career. 
  10. Through the Eyes of Fanny Seward: A Family-Friendly Tour of the Seward House
    Experience the world of the Seward family through the eyes of their youngest child, Fanny. This highly literary and precocious young lady was not only a favorite of her father, but often by his side during pivotal moments of his career. She recorded these stories in her diary, as well as more commonplace ones that capture the spirit of girlhood in the middle 19th century.
    This tour is led by a Fanny Seward re-enactor.
  11. Paws & Claws: Pets of the Seward House
    A tour that pays special attention to the menagerie of pets that enriched the lives of the Seward family. Whether it was a litter of kittens given by Seward to ease his tensions with Lincoln, the tame deer that nearly ruined Seward’s “Dining Room Diplomacy” with some ill-timed grazing, the watch dog with ties to the Underground Railroad, or the bald eagle imported from Alaska, the beloved pets of 33 South Street hold a unique point of view into history.
  12. The Seward Family in New York State
    For generations, the Sewards were among the most prominent of New York families. Of all the titles he earned over a 40 year career, Governor of New York was always the one Seward preferred to be called. On this specialty tour, learn about how various members of the Seward family contributed to the history of the Empire State.
  13. Haunted History Tours of Auburn (Limited to the Halloween Season)
    Costumed guides take guests around the Seward House grounds and to the gates of Fort Hill Cemetery, sharing chilling tales of Victorian funeral practices, spectral encounters from Seward family lore, grizzly true crime stories, and other spooky accounts drawn from local folklore and history. You won’t want to miss the eerie experience!
  14. Candlelight Tours (Limited to the Christmas Holiday Season)
    Experience a full Victorian Christmas with all the trimmings and trappings. Costumed guides lead candlelit tours of the home, which is decorated in holiday splendor. As visitors learn about Christmas traditions of the Sewards, actors portraying various members of the family emerge to share heart-warming holiday memories gleaned from their letters and diaries. The evening ends with timeless carols sung around the family’s 1872 Steinway piano.