Celebrations as Hull House Museum reopens

September 8, 2010 (CHICAGO) The event, which was being called the "People's Block Party' was just getting under way Wednesday evening. It marks the grand opening of a building that was once Jane Addams' home and is now a tribute to her pioneering social work.

The celebration falls on the 150th anniversary of Addams' birth. Her work on behalf of the underprivileged at the turn of the 20th century earned her the title "Mother of Social Work."

"She was a woman who was about leadership to the city at a time when the city needed help," said Clarence Wood, CEO, Hull House Association.

Wood and others work to carry on Addams' vision by providing a spectrum of services to those in need. Supporters gathered at Daley Plaza to honor a person they call an advocate for human rights. They say much of the causes Jane Addams fought for are still important today.

Addams earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, becoming the first American woman to receive that honor. It's on permanent display at her home.

"There was a time when 800 S. Halsted was the most important address in the world," said Cindy Sargent, a Hull House board member.

The museum reopened Wednesday following renovations. Visitors can see, among other things, exhibits of the original settlements, a complex of buildings where people could live, work and enrich their lives. It was set up by Addams as a way to create conditions for peace.

"That meant fighting for public housing, for public health, for working, for immigrants' rights, for women's rights, to really fight for fair labor practices," said Lisa Lee of the Hull House Museum

The renovation costs $800,000. Hull House and another building are two of the buildings left of the original 13 buildings that made up the settlement. The other buildings were torn down to make way for UIC's campus.

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