Archive for the ‘Other Museum Work’ Category

Jane Addams was so cool. Really she was more than cool- Jane Addams was FRESH. When I look around the museum, give tours, or just observe visitors reactions to her legacy- I’m truly amazed at how fitting Hull-House history is for our contemporary lives. So it is not surprising that the museum focuses a lot on making those connections for the public.

Hull-House was an interdisciplinary space. The residents who lived here approached their work with the methodology of intersectionality. Today, we continue this framework of intersectionality with public programming, exhibits, and our choice to be in solidarity with many sites and organizations around Chicago and the world.

In the Residents Dining Hall we are currently displaying an exhibition piece from The National Museum of Mexican Art titled A Declaration of Immigration. This piece was first displayed at the NMoM and is now displayed in the Hull-House Residents Dining Hall. The Hull-House Museum wants our visitors to know that we stand in solidarity with the Pilsen community and Latino communities around the country. As a part of the network of the International Coalition of a Sites of Conscience it is our responsibility to make Hull-House a safe space where visitors can engage in dialogues about immigration. As a museum educator, and as someone in solidarity with The Dream Act and other progressive youth movements, it is galvanizing to watch Hull-House Museum visitors read the words “We are a nation of immigrants. No human being is illegal. We mutually pledge to uphold the fight for equality and defend the unalienable rights of all.”

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, many people who visit the Hull-House Museum are not previously aware of the Mexican migrant stories at Hull-House. Most visitors are only familiar with the eastern European immigrant story. Unfortunately, many visitors arrive well versed in the dominate narrative used to contextualize a negative vs. positive juxtaposition of Mexican and European (im)migration. The homogenized European immigrant story is understood as “the good immigrants” who arrived to America, worked very hard, and ultimately did immigration the “right way”- (or as I sometimes say the white way)- opposed to Mexicans who are almost always contextualized as illegals, bad, undesirable and unreliable. There is a lot that can be said here. I think that is why having the Declaration of Immigration on display is so appropriate. It would be impossible for the Hull-House staff to have a dialogue about immigration with every visitor who walks through our doors. So, giving the public an alternative to our collective historical narrative of immigration by utilizing a borrowed exhibition piece from The National Museum of Mexican Art is quite powerful. We have a tool that allows us to challenge our present narratives of immigration. Telling and retelling the stories of Mexican migrants at Hull-House alongside eastern European immigrants stories makes the commonalities clear- we aren’t as different as the media, politicians, and institutions tell us we are. Putting these histories alongside our current immigration moment gives us a chance to address what is obscure, neglected, or simply erased from both the past and the present narratives of immigration.

-Mekaila, museum educator


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Lisa J. here.  I just happened to find a blog post that contains a very positive review of the Hull-House Museum’s teacher education program. I wasn’t googling myself, or anything…

These teachers were from Colorado and had received a Teaching American History grant to travel to Chicago for a week of professional development.

The Museum has a number of programs, tours, and activities available to teachers.  To learn about these opportunities, contact Lisa Junkin at ljunkin [at] uic [dot] edu or call (312) 355-5301.

See what our friends in Colorado had to say about their visit here.

Thanks for the review!

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New website!

Sorry for the radio silence… things have been incredibly busy here at the museum.  But here are some of the fruits of our labor!  Lauren, our graphic designer, has created a beautiful new website for the museum:


Thanks Lauren!

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It is well known that Jane Addams was a pacifist; opposing World War I was perhaps the primary reason she earned the title, “most dangerous woman in America.”  But today I’m remembering another leader in the peace movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


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The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at UIC wishes each and every one of you a happy and peaceful holiday season. As a special gift to you in the new year, follow this link to a complimentary Canning Manual available in a spectrum of colors!

We greatly appreciate all of your support in our efforts to preserve history and continue the legacy of Miss Addams. Her commitment to advocating a more just society and creating the conditions for peace to flourish is our commitment during the holiday season and beyond.

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Anna, a graduate student in Art History and one of our Museum Educators, reports back on the education staff’s visit to the Art Institute of Chicago:

Two Panels Entitled “Cray”, 1885. Designed by William Morris.


Last Monday, December 14th, members of our museum education staff
spent an afternoon at the Art Institute of Chicago visiting the
exhibit “Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago.”
We have been studying the Arts and Crafts Movement and its connection
to Hull-House reformers and programs for the past few months as a
group, so it was wonderful to visit the exhibit and see the objects
created by the ideas we have been discussing. For those of you not
familiar with the topic, the Arts and Crafts Movement began in
Victorian England by John Ruskin and William Morris in response to
industrialization. Ruskin and Morris glorified the handmade over the
machine-made, and felt that making objects by hand instilled dignity
and pride in the worker. Moreover, the movement stressed that
beautifully crafted objects, and beauty in general, provided a moral
uplift that could extend across social classes. These ideas made their
way to America, and people such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Ellen Gates
Starr, Jane Addams, and many others brought the philosophy into
Hull-House through lectures, art programs, and progressive reform. As
a group, we museum educators have been making connections between the
artistic, political, and philosophical underpinnings of the movement
and the work carried on at Hull-House.

As the exhibit at AIC traces the movement from England to America, we
were able to recognize some of the shifts in ideas and design in
relation to Hull-House, the space that provided a Chicago home for the
British movement. Hull-House was one of the places where the movement
was reformed (no pun intended!) to suit American needs and ideals, as
the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society was formed at Hull-House in 1897.
One of our favorite moments in the exhibit was when we stumbled upon
two books handmade by Ellen Gates Starr. It was wonderful to see her
beautiful, handcrafted objects and think about the work that went on
during the bookbindery classes she taught at Hull-House. We were also
proud to see Hull-House mentioned all over the exhibition walls, and
to more fully understand our local connection to the international
movement. Our visit to the museum was a great experience and we
educators will most certainly be mentioning more Arts and Crafts
connections in our tours!

After the holidays, we will be looking more closely at the Hull-House
Labor Museum and its relationship with the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Want to catch up on what we’ve been studying? Here is a brief
bibliography of some great resources on the topic:

Addams, Jane. First Report of the Labor Museum at Hull House, Chicago,
1901-1902. (Chicago, 1902): 1-16.

Boris, Eileen. Art and Labor: Ruskin, Morris and the Craftman Ideal in
America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986.

Jackson, Shannon. “Performance at Hull-House: Museum, Microfiche, and
Historiography.” In Exceptional Spaces: Essays in Performance and History, Della Pollock, ed. Chapel Hill: The
University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Stankiewicz, Mary Ann. “Art at Hull House, 1889-1901: Jane Addams and
Ellen Gates Starr.” Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 10,
       No. 1 (Spring-Summer, 1989): 35-39.


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Sam Kass (former Hull-House Museum chef), Kathleen Merrigan and others explain the new USDA program to promote and study season extension throughout the country. As part of the program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service will provide funding to build high tunnels on farms in 38 states, including Illinois.


What do you think of the new plan?

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