We Are a Part of Them - Community Open House

Thanks to all of those whose attended our Community Open House.

The conversation about the future home of the National Public Housing Museum was incredible as we worked to embody the spirit of community. This idea is echoed in our program series entitled: "WE ARE A PART OF THEM," sharing perspectives from as far away as Brooklyn housing projects to as close as Cabrini-Green not four blocks away.

In our circle we shared stories bringing together high schoolers and parents from Northeast Scattered Sites Housing, college students from Stateway Gardens, designers from IIT, and researchers from the University of Chicago. In addition, our circle included former CHA employees and consultants, stakeholders from the Central Advisory Council, the Chicago Community Trust and the Alphawood Foundation, along with professionals, artists and other citizens from all walks of life. 

Together we spoke truthfully of a museum that not only celebrates our successes but also helps people learn from our challenges. We are reminded that we will be a museum dedicated to history and personal stories in addition to reflecting the need for a broader public discourse in improving public housing policy and the plight of our neediest residents. 

Through our future museum home on Taylor Street, hosting conversations just like this one, including exhibitions, talks, and additional resources, we hope to transform the way our different stakeholders interact as we tell the story of the American public housing experience.

We look forward to continuing to engage in these important conversations.

Congratulations to Board Members Roberta Feldman and Crystal Palmer

Join us in congratulating Board Members Roberta Feldman and Crystal Palmer. For the incredible work they've done on issues at the heart of our institutional mission in the areas of social justice and the built environment, they've garnered significant recognition from national organizations of note.


Recognized by the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)

EDRA Career Award, 2014

The EDRA Career Award is given in recognition of a career of sustained and significant contributions to environment design research, practice or teaching. Roberta joins an august group of previous winners, one having been awarded each year since its inception in 1977.

The award will be presented at this years Environmental Design Research Association conference in New Orleans, May 28-31.


Recognized by Business and Professional People in the Public Interest (BPI)

BPI Champion of the Public Interest Award, 2014

BPI recognizes exceptional contributions to the public interest by individuals and organizations across a broad range of endeavors working to create a more just society with our Champion of the Public Interest Awards. In 2014, Crystal was selected for this honor along with Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson and the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) at the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law.

The award was presented at the BPI awards dinner on May 20. 

Congratulations Roberta and Crystal!

IIT Service Systems Workshop

NPHM is proud to have been engaged in the Illinois Institute of Design's ID program's "Service Systems Workshop" led by Denis Weil and Linda Pulik. With support from the Chicago Community Trust, NPHM and our peers at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) teamed with students and delved into applying principles of service design to community needs. We were delighted to see the results on display at an exhibition and program at Segundo Ruiz Belivs Cultural Center in Hermosa on Monday, May 5th. Alongside SRBCC's permanent collection, which celebrate Puerto Rico's African heritage, this temporary photo exhibit was co-created with NPHM and IIT by photographers (and public housing residents) Annie Stubenfield, Mary Reed and Jackie Greer. Another team developed an innovative mobile story collection system that connected us to resident stories from the Lathrop and Stateway Gardens communities. We look forward to continuing both projects with staff, volunteers and residents.

Creating the Inclusive City: We Are A Part of Them Event

Making change in our community

On May 29th, Creating the Inclusive City, brought together a few of Chicago's cultural and community leaders for dynamic presentations about creating change in communities despite the challenges of disinvestment in public programs. The talks moved from Cabrini-Green to the suburbs to the public and private spaces that we use to teach youth, to share art, and to express ourselves. Both Irina Zadov, a founder of the Chicago Home Theater Festival, and Miguel Aguilar, founder of Graffiti Institute, spoke about finding ways to make art and bring art to others, whether in someone's livingroom or on the streets of neighborhoods. Sam Spitz, one of the filmmakers of the documentary The Greens about Cabrini-Green, helped to make the event even more inclusive by video conferencing in from England. He and Teddy Williams discussed their film The Greens and reminded the audience how close we are to each other, when like Teddy and Sam people are often divided by only a few blocks, but how far we allow ourselves to be. The divisions that exist in Chicago and other cities can take many forms including white flight to the suburbs. Adrienne Brown, a professor at University of Chicago, read from a paper exploring that very idea through the lens of literature. Sandra Sosa explained her approach to her youth work, one that helps young people understand themselves through a single image.

The post-presentation discussion was engaging and wide-ranging. Both Miguel and Sandra talked about allowing young people to do what they do best without adults putting limits on what that means. All of the presenters spoke to the idea of removing the barriers and limits we place on creating community with others. The audience responded with thought-provoking questions and incisive breakthroughs about how they too could be creating a more inclusive city.

Fundraiser: A Night at the Black Ensemble Theater

A recent event featured the BET production "Chicago's Golden Soul," a showcase of artists of international acclaim who got their start in public housing, e.g., Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler. 

At our pre-show reception we acknowledged the Alphawood Foundation  for their $750,000 gift. Alphawood's generosity will help the Museum to come home to 1322 Taylor St. As a part of the fundraiser, we also recognized several women leaders who are shining examples of some of the excellence that was bred in public housing, including Sunny Fischer; Senator Mattie Hunter; Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times; Mattie Butler, former background singer for brother Jerry Butler; Francine Washington, president of CHA's Central Advisory Council; and Jackie Taylor, founder of the Black Ensemble Theater.

Chicago luminaries in attendance included The Honorable Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State; Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Vice Chair of the Illinois Democratic Party Karen Yarbrough; NPHM chair Sunny Fischer; Alphawood Foundation Chicago Executive Director Jim McDonough and Alphawood Foundation Associate Director Brad White.

Photos belong to Al Cato and Maya Dukmasova. Maya is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Chicago. She writes a blog "A kitchen for every pot " devoted to news, analysis and commentary on public housing today. Click here for her blog or find her on twitter @mdoukmas

New Office Location

Many exciting things will be happening in the life of the Museum in 2014. Just a few days into the new year and we were already off to a great start. We have officially moved the office from UIC to our new home at 625 N. Kingsbury St. 

The space is an exciting transition for us. Our co-tenants are other non-profits with likeminded missions: Archeworks is an alternative architecture school that provides pro bono design services to underserved communities, Arts Works Projects is a global human rights filmmaking collective with whom NPHM is collaborating via Roberta Feldman on a 2015-16 exhibit about global housing insecurity and the International Children's Media Center introduces new ways of thinking about media and redefine how we, as a culture, view and use media.

We hope to welcome you into the space at talks and events that help continue the Museum's mission of bringing the stories of public housing to life.

Our new address and phone number is:

The National Public Housing Museum
625 N. Kingsbury St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(773) 245-1621


Look for the orange door!