The house was built in 1857 by famous architect James Gallier, Jr. as his own up-to-date residence, the kitchen and bath had cold and hot running water. He died in the house in 1868, his descendants owned it until 1917. The house was purchased by the Freeman family in the 1960's and was restored by the Ella West Freeman Foundation in 1971 as a house museum and opened to the public.
Actually a complex of three historic buildings, the restoration was completed in several phases. The Gallier residence was restored to the highest museum standards depicting the lifestyle and functions of the Gallier family, and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Widely published and fully accredited, Gallier House is a benchmark for house museums in the United States. Of the other two buildings in the complex, one contains ticket sales, a gift shop and exhibition spaces where changing exhibits inform visitors on subjects relating to Victorian architecture, lifestyle and decorative arts. The other building includes administrative offices, curatorial offices, storage, and an educational department serving school groups.