In the United States, immigration is a topic that is both personal and local, civic and national – touching on issues of identity, culture, and community as well as civil liberties and national security. As a result, the immigration debate has been emotional and contentious at every level of society, from the
dinner table to the Senate floor. Too often the debate has reinforced stereotypes and divided communities.
Today, there is an urgent need for new spaces where Americans, including new immigrants, can engage in informed and open dialogue across difference on the enduring and sensitive issue of
immigration. As trusted community venues for public education, museums like Hull-House are uniquely positioned to fill this role.
In 2008, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience launched the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of museums and historic sites representing diverse immigration histories, from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York to the Arab American National Museum in Detroit. Civil Rights museums like Levine Museum of the New South enthusiastically joined the network as well, positioning immigration as a contemporary civil rights issue. The Hull-House Museum was one of the pilot institutions to offer these engaging dialogues, which have evolved into a nationwide effort for greater understanding.
In 2014, these member sites will launch National Dialogues on Immigration, a cross-regional series of public programs designed to spark a new national conversation on critical immigration topics like citizenship, American identity, border control, freedom of movement, and civil liberties. Using its collections as a springboard, each museum will utilize key stories from its own history as starting points for open dialogue on immigration past and present. Local scholars of American history, government, immigration history, or immigration law will help tailor the programs to address specific local contexts.
In addition to on-site programming, the Coalition will develop an online resource for immigration history, policy information, action opportunities, discussion boards, and even program models for replication at other museums across the country. The goal? To make opportunities for safe, open dialogue on immigration accessible in every community – including yours.
This project is made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
Taking place after a tour of the museum, this hour-long program invites visitors to respond to Hull-House history, synthesize past and present issues, and to think about immigration on a grand scale. From the the crowded tenements of the 19th ward to the Dream Act, we want to understand the history and legacy of this nation of immigrants and envision our roles in creating a better world.
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Gender and Sexuality Tour
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is honored to host a new tour to bring Chicago history out of the closet! Addressing the question “Was Jane Addams a Lesbian?” we’ll consider the historic context that complicates both the answer and the question itself. We’ll look at specific historic figures from the Hull-House community of residents and neighbors, considering changing gender roles, new concepts of family, and sexual norms as they evolved from the years of Hull-House to today. Expanding our lens to broader society, we’ll look into how social changes towards industrialization and urbanization connected to increasing self-awareness and emerging gay identity in this time period. This interactive tour and dialogue will go throughout the museum and last approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. So, how do the movements of the past connect with today’s struggles for social justice? How can we reconceive of our own gendered biases? Consider these questions and more and make a reservation today! SCHEDULE A TOUR! Return to tour menu
Classic Museum Tour
In this hour-long tour, visitors will learn about the conditions immigrants faced in the 19th Ward of Chicago, the unique work of the Hull-House residents, the life and work of Jane Addams, and the lasting impact of the Hull-House Settlement. Depending on grade level and subject interest, this interactive tour can focus on issues of labor, immigration, gender, social work, and other special interests. SCHEDULE A TOUR! Return to tour menu
Narrated by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (granddaughter of former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt), “An Experiment in Democracy” traces the history of Hull-House from Jane Addams’ childhood to the contemporary work of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Viewers will be introduced to social reformers who lived at Hull-House, catch a rare glimpse of the Settlement’s innovative programs, and learn about the legacy of Addams and Hull-House throughout Chicago and beyond. Includes English captions and Spanish subtitles. SCHEDULE A TOUR! Return to tour menu
Social Change Dialogue
Dialogues take place in the historic Residents’ Dining Hall, the space where Hull-House residents joined leading intellectuals and visionaries including Upton Sinclair, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Eleanor Roosevelt, and other important social reformers to share meals and ideas, debate one another, and conspire to change the world. These dialogues, led by trained museum educators, help to create a safe environment where a range of emotions and opinions can be shared in conversation. Taking place after a tour of the museum, this hour-long program invites visitors to respond to the history, synthesize past and present issues of social justice, and to think about the best ways to build a better society. SCHEDULE A TOUR! Return to tour menu
Pickling and Preserving Peace
Jane Addams once said, “It is a part of the new philanthropy to recognize that the social question is largely a question of the stomach.” The historic Hull-House settlement was concerned with issues of food access, nutrition, and sustainability. Food programming was at the core of the settlement mission, and was seen as a bridge to larger issues of social justice. Today, as a house museum, we interpret the history and legacy of these reformers, and also take an active part in carrying on their mission for a better world. Our heirloom farm, seed library, and public programming partnerships are examples of how we have addressed contemporary issues of food justice, and where we playfully invoke the importance of ‘preservation’ in both historic house museums and in the local food movement. Preserving fruits and vegetables is a critical part of sustainability. Come join in the conversation! SCHEDULE A TOUR! Return to tour menu
Our Pickling and Preserving Peace dialogue is an hour-long program which follows a tour, and invites visitors to respond to the history of the site, synthesize the past and present struggles for social justice, and to create pickles in the process! So bring your ideas, and leave with an edible souvenir to share with your community. This program has a suggested donation of $5-10 per person for materials. SCHEDULE A TOUR! Return to tour menu
Creation and Inspiration Zine Program
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The museum regrets that lunchroom facilities are not available. However, groups may make plans to visit one of the ethnic restaurants located in the nearby Italian or Greek communities. Bins for coats and lunches are available to visiting groups. Restrooms can be accessed in the Residents’ Dining Hall and the Hull Home.