Jane Addams Hull-House Museum to reopen

September 8, 2010 5:28:42 AM PDT
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted Street, one of the nation's most important historic house museums and a treasured part of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), will re-open after having undergone a major renovation for the first time in 50 years. To coincide with the 150th anniversary of Addams' birth, the Museum has dramatically expanded the House areas open to the public, developed a new temporary exhibition space relating issues of the early 20th century to today, and greatly increased the artifacts in its collection.

Following a temporary closing this summer for the renovation, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum will officially re-open with a festive, free "People's Block Party," showcasing the new facility, Wednesday, September 8, from 4-6pm. Free refreshments, self-guided tours, and a chance to meet Museum heads will all be available. Earlier that day, the 150th Anniversary of Jane Addams' birth (officially September 7) will also be marked at a special civic ceremony at noon at Daley Plaza, presented by the Hull House Association.

A vibrant memorial to social activist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Jane Addams and other social reformers of her time, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is comprised of two of the settlement's original thirteen buildings - the Hull mansion, a National Historic Landmark, and the adjacent Residents' Dining Hall. For the first time, the 30,000 annual visitors who come to the Museum to learn about women's history, immigration and labor rights, and the importance of the arts and democracy, will now also be able to view the entire second floor of the Hull home. The second floor permanent exhibition, titled The Making of a Political Woman, will include Jane Addams' restored bedroom with personal artifacts such as Addams' 1931 Nobel Peace Prize on loan from the Swarthmore Peace Collection, Addams' childhood diary, letters, photographs, an 1881 class ring from Rockford Seminary, and a portrait of her companion, Mary Rozet Smith, with poems that Addams wrote to her. Additionally, two other core exhibitions, Meet the Reformers and A Day in the Life, will respectively tell the stories of other reformers as well as those who worked in Hull-House. Temporary exhibition space on the second floor will relate the social reforms of Addams and her peers of the late 1900s and 20th century to contemporary issues; the inaugural exhibition will examine the Illinois juvenile justice system today, the first in the nation, which was inspired by Addams' social activism.

"These stories will be a unique contribution to the visitor's understanding of the relationship between architecture, reform, democratic ideas, and the creation of community. Addams' life and the continuing legacy of Hull-House inspires all of us to lead a more civic life and work for the common good" said Lisa Lee, Museum Director. "In addition, too often, passionate efforts are made to preserve a landmark solely for aesthetic reasons. At the same time, cultural preservationists overlook the influence of the built environment. This exhibition will link spatial concerns with a site better known for social reform. "

About the New Museum Features:

With an additional 1,200 square-feet of exhibition space, other additions to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum include:

· A Day in the Life - highlights depicting Hilda Satt Polachek, a Polish factory worker who volunteered in the settlement's Labor Museum and wrote I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl, and Jesus Torres, a Mexican migrant who worked in the Hull-House kilns and became a leading Mexican-American artist.

· Architectural Encounters - restored architectural details throughout the Museum that demonstrate the relationship between social ideals and the decorating choices of the Hull-House reformers.

· Meet the Reformers - a room dedicated to Progressive Era Reformers Alice Hamilton, Edith and Grace Abbott, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Florence Kelley, and Ellen Gates Starr.

· Sounds Like History - sonic landscapes of the Hull-House at the turn-of-the-century.

· The inaugural temporary exhibition, in comic-book-style, dedicated to the history and current state of juvenile justice in the United States.

· A collection of images of Hull-House from Wallace Kirkland, one of the most important documentary photographers of the 20th century.

· A newly constructed, more detailed scale model of the Hull-House Settlement as it appeared in 1907, highlighting the work of Chicago architects Irving and Allen Pond.

· Never-before-seen art by ten Chicago artists who lived and worked at Hull-House at the turn of the century.

· An in-depth exploration of what childhood was like in the 19th Ward of Chicago and a multi-media display of Hull-House programs for children.

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum renovation was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional funding by the Driehaus Foundation, the Terra Foundation, the Graham Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and individual donors.

About the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and her colleagues whose work changed the lives of their immigrant neighbors as well as national and international public policy. 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 Museum and its many vibrant programs make connections between the work of Hull-House residents and important contemporary social issues. Founded in 1889 as a social settlement and until it closed in 1963, Hull-House played a vital role in redefining American democracy in the modern age. Addams and the residents of Hull-House helped pass critical legislation and influenced public policy on public health and education, free speech, fair labor practices, immigrants' rights, recreation and public space, arts, and philanthropy. Hull-House has long been a center of Chicago's political and cultural life, establishing Chicago's first public playground and public art gallery, helping to desegregate the Chicago Public Schools, and influencing philanthropy and culture.

Other programs include new tours for school children; Re-Thinking Soup, a modern day soup kitchen where the community can gather and eat delicious, healthy, soup while conversing about urgent social, cultural, economic and environmental food issues; the Urban Heirloom Farm, a multi-use space for such projects as growing vegetables, a restaurant partnership with Chef Bill Kim's Urban Belly, an outdoor exhibition, farm-to-school programs for local public schools, and food-focused museum tours and activities; Sex Positive, a free documentary series offering an outlet to positively discuss sex and culture; and more!

Located on the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Campus at 800 S. Halsted Street, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is free and open to the public on Tuesdays - Fridays, 10am to 4pm, and Sundays, noon to 4pm. For more information, please call 312-413-5353 or visit www.hullhousemuseum.org

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Re-opens
"People's Block Party"
University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Campus
800 S. Halsted Street
Today, 4-6pm
hullhousemuseum.org


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