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Explore the past, present, and future.

Tours of the Richardson Olmsted Campus, provided in partnership with the Lipsey Architecture Center Buffalo, are a passageway to the past and a glimpse of the future.

Led by expert docents, you’ll gain access to and learn about historic spaces while experiencing the site’s original structures as well as the healing landscape designed to serve as a therapeutic environment. Plus, you’ll learn about the philosophies of mental health advocate Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride and how his ideas influenced architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who applied those principles throughout the grounds.

Tours are available from May through September. Each unique experience runs between 45 minutes and two hours in length and all explore the past, present, and future of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

On the day of your tour, please meet at the Lipsey Architecture Center gallery on the ground level of the towers building.

Tours will vary as access may be limited to some areas owing to campus events and activities.

Ticket sales support the non-profit Lipsey Architecture Center Buffalo’s mission to celebrate WNY’s architectural bounty.

2024 Campus Tours.

Our public tours, in partnership with the Lipsey Architecture Center Buffalo and Explore Buffalo, can accommodate up to 20 guests.

All guests should be aware that this walking tour has many stairs.  Wear closed-toe shoes – they are required.  Tours will vary each week depending on campus activities.

Tour dates for 2024 will take place Saturdays and Sundays at 10.00am from May through September.   Tickets will be released monthly and available on a first come, first served basis.

Please note, for safety reasons, no photography is permitted on this tour.  Please sign-up for our dedicated photography tour for image-making (see below for details).


Tickets for July and August are now available – click here to check availability and make your reservation.


On the day of your tour, please meet at the Lipsey Architecture Center gallery on the ground level of the towers building.

2024 Outdoor Richardson Olmsted grounds walking tour.

Walk our campus with horticulturist Nell Gardner and explore the rich agricultural history and therapeutic nature of the grounds of the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane.

Supplemented with photos and landscape reports, learn about the working farm and greenhouse that once existed on site. Tours of our historic grounds will be taking place once a month from May through October.

  • Saturday, June 8th – 12 noon
  • Wednesday, July 17th – 5.30pm
  • Saturday, August 10th – 12 noon
  • Wednesday, September 11th – 5.30pm
  • Saturday, October 12th – 12 noon

Tickets are available to order.  Click here to check availability and make your reservation.

Please note these are exterior grounds tours that last about 1.5 hours.  Please dress appropriately.  On the day of your tour, please meet at the Lipsey Architecture Center gallery on the ground level of the towers building.

2024 Photography tour.

Join us and Preservation Buffalo Niagara for an exclusive opportunity to capture images of the iconic Richardson Olmsted Campus, a National Historic Landmark.

Photographers will be paired with an experienced docent to guide them through a collection of unique locations.  Your guide can also provide context on the history and future of the Richardson Olmsted Campus as you explore the site.

Photography Tours are $125 (includes access for the photographer and one assistant).

Ages 16 & up.


Tickets for July – September now available – click the date below to check availability and make a reservation:



Saturday, July 20, 2024    –      6:00 – 8:00 pm



Saturday, August 03, 2024 – 1:30 – 3:30 PM

Wednesday, August 14, 2024 – 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Saturday, August 17, 2024 – 6:00 – 8:00 PM



Saturday, September 07, 2024 – 1:30 – 3:30 PM

Wednesday, September 11, 2024 – 6:00- 8:00 PM

Saturday, September 21, 2024 – 6:00 – 8:00 PM



  • Please bring your pre-signed release(s) to allow more time for the tour.
  • This tour requires the ability to walk for the full duration of the tour as well as climb multiple flights of stairs.
  • Meet at the Lipsey Architecture Center, ground level of the Towers Building on the northside of the campus.


  • For your safety, sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. We reserve the right to turn away anyone without appropriate shoes. Under no condition will sandals or high heels be allowed.
  • You are encouraged to wear layers and bring bottled water.

Self-guided audio tour.

When tours aren’t in session on campus, take yourself on a self-guided adventure around the grounds with a free audio tour. To get started:

  • Download the audio tour map.
  • Dial 1-716-249-3874 to begin the tour.
  • Soak up the history and enjoy your tour!

Audio tour generously supported by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Content co-created by Deirdre Reynolds, Museum Studies Department, SUNY Buffalo State with the Richardson Center Campus.

Voiced by Mike Forster, Master Docent, Richardson Olmsted Campus.