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For us at the Hull-House, the NEH process is an exciting one, a dynamic two-way exchange of thought and practice. We’re engaged in a range of topics, and look to research to frame our ideas and actions. Sometimes the literature is serious, sometimes irreverent but always impassioned about the issues. A passion about our work and Jane Addams’ legacy is something we hope to get across in the new exhibit.

Here are some texts we are currently perusing about the (sometimes quirky) topic of wall labels:

Lavine, Steven D. Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian, 1991.

Schaffner, Ingrid. “Wall Text.” What Makes a Great Exhibition? Paula Marincola, ed. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, 2006.

Serrell, Beverly. Exhibit Labels: An Interpretative Approach. Walnut Creek, Lanham, New York, and Oxford: Altamira Press and Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Yau, John. “Please Wait by the Cloakroom.” Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures, ed. Russell Ferguson, Martha Gever and Trinh T. Minh-ha. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1990.

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The Plan, the Players, and the Museum

The Hull-House Museum today

The Plan:

To create a new permanent exhibit for the museum, officially called “Jane Addams and the Hull-House Settlement: Redefining Democracy.”  We will unveil the exhibit around Jane Addams Day (December 10) in 2010, which gives us one very busy year to prepare.

The new exhibition will double our current exhibit space by opening the upstairs of the Hull-House Museum to the public for the first time.


The Players:

You’ll be hearing from some of these folks soon, but here’s a preview of the NEH team:

  • Amy- exhibit designer
  • Kelly- project coordinator, special assistant to the director
  • Lauren- graphic designer
  • Lisa J.- education coordinator
  • Lisa Lee- director
  • Michael- historic preservationist and facilities manager
  • Naomi- exhibition coordinator
  • Teresa- curatorial assistant


We also have a talented staff of part-timers:

  • Amanda- assistant to the education coordinator
  • Anna, Danielle, Joe, Margaret, Mekaila, Sean – museum educators
  • Edgar- assistant to the facilities manager
  • Ryan- farmer-in-residence
  • Tara- kitchen manager


The Museum:

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jane Addams (1860-1935) and other resident social reformers whose work influenced the lives of their immigrant neighbors as well as national and international public policy.  As Hull-House Settlement was a place where immigrants, social reformers, writers and others could imagine, convene and argue about the issues of the time, the Museum continues to provide a place to discuss and debate the contemporary social issues of today.  The Museum preserves and develops the original Hull-House site for the interpretation and continuation of the historic settlement house vision, linking research, education, and social engagement.

The Hull-House Settlement was founded in 1889 by social reformers Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr.  It was part of the world-wide Settlement House movement responding to problems created by urbanization, industrialization, and immigration.  The complex eventually included 13 buildings.  The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum opened in 1967 as a unit of the new University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) campus, retaining the original Hull Home, a National Historic Landmark built by real estate developer Charles Hull, and the Residents’ Dining Hall, a Chicago Historic Landmark.

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Hello world!

Jane Addams may have run a “hull” of a house, but with a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, today’s women (and men!) of Hull-House are creating a dynamic new memorial to the social reformer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Check back to follow our process as we create a new permanent exhibit at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.

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