Museum Closure for Indigenous Peoples' Day, 2019.

In honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, the Museum will be closed on Monday, October 14. We acknowledge that the land where the Museum is has been stewarded by the Miami, Peoria, Potawatomi, and Illinois tribes. At our offices in River North, which is just blocks away from where Cabrini-Green once stood, we also recognize a similar history of forced displacement.

The Smithsonian writes about lifting up the rich history, cultures, and traditions of Indigenous peoples of America and the importance of reassessing histories.

Community Dinner and Outdoor Film Screening

National Public Housing Museum
Community Dinner & Outdoor Film Screening
Thursday, October 10, 2019
6:00 to 8:30 PM
1322 West Taylor Street

We're so excited to host you all at our Museum site this Thursday for our community dinner and outdoor film screening! Click here for a sneak peak of a projection test from last Spring for a taste of what to expect when you arrive this week.

We also wanted to give thanks to our friends at the South Side Home Movie Project for sharing clips of the Robert Taylor Homes, Rosenwald Apartments, and clips of the Jenner Academy schoolyard in Cabrini-Green! These clips will be projected onto the Museum before the film screening.

Do you have any footage of public housing that you want shared on Thursday? Holiday celebrations, family meals, reunion parties, we're looking for it all! Please send any digital footage or questions to

Artist talk and concert at NPHM site

Chicago singer, songwriter, and poet, Avery Young.

Chicago singer, songwriter, and poet, Avery Young.

On Saturday, September 21, the Museum hosted a dynamic, genre-spanning musical performance, conducted by Kowalkowski featuring Emily Broeker, Scott Tuma, Anabel Watson, James Wersching, Avery Young, and Angela Zúñiga, which was interspersed with an artist conversation with Chicago Architecture Biennial contributors Malose Malahlela (Keleketla! Library), Jim Duignan, and Jeff Kowalkowski (Stockyard Institute).

With music ranging from opera to soul, ambient to folk, visitors to the site were able to connect to the many different musical and sonic textures that have graced not only the Jane Addams Homes, but public housing complexes across the nation. Many thanks to the musicians and dancers who joined us!

On October 10, the Museum will be hosting a community dinner and outdoor film screening. Presented films will share stories from Robert Taylor Homes through the eyes of legendary historian Studs Terkel, as well as Stateway Gardens, Cabrini-Green, and St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe complexes. Films curated by our friends at Mediaburn Archive. We hope to see you there!

Both programs are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Conant Family Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture Prince, National Endowment for the Arts

Chicago Architecture Biennial Underway!

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The Chicago Architecture Biennial officially launches next week, but behind the scenes, we’ve been hard at work preparing for the grand opening next Wednesday. In partnership with Malose Malahlela of Johannesburg’s Keleketla! Library and Chicago’s own Jim Duignan and Jeff Kowalkowski of the Stockyard Institute, the Museum’s future home at 1322 West Taylor Street will be hosting a built sound environment which reflects the disappearing of public housing and gentrification.

Yesterday, the installation of the scaffolding component of Malose’s piece started on Taylor Street. In our offices, we had our second day of training of our public housing resident Cultural Workforce Training Program, who will be leading tours of the installation.

Tours will be available at the following times:
Thursday / Friday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday / Sunday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Can’t make it at these times? Contact us to schedule tours at other days and times throughout the week.

Stay tuned to our Instagram for exciting images of the process and our events page for more information about CAB-related and all other NPHM programs.

Art 50: Visual Vanguard 2019

Photo by Nathan Keay

Photo by Nathan Keay

Our Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Yun Lee was recognized as part of this year’s Art 50: Visual Vanguard! She is joined by some of the biggest movers and shakers in Chicago’s art scene.

”Lisa Yun Lee lives by activist Toni Cade Bambara’s call to “make revolution irresistible,” and witnessing Lee’s efforts to incite through the arts a radical democracy in which resources like housing are a right, the revolution feels not just desirable, but attainable.”

Congrats to all who were on this prestigious list for all your contributions that make Chicago the vibrant city that it is!

Labor Day Closure

The Museum will be closed on Monday, September 2, in honor of Labor Day. We will re-open at our normal hours, from 10 AM to 5 PM, on Tuesday, September 3.


We would like to recognize and give thanks to those early activists that heralded Labor Day into existence. On September 5, 1882, upwards of 20,000 people marched down New York City streets, carrying flags, badges, and musical instruments.

While this is considered to be the first Labor Day celebration, it was not yet an official holiday and many marchers went back to work right immediately following the parade.

On June 28, 1894, Congress made the first Monday in September a legal, national holiday known as Labor Day.

Entrepreneurship 101: Blanton Canady

Blanton Canady.jpg

This month the E-Hub’s Social Justice Business School debuted its first lecture in its series Entrepreneurship 101 featuring Mr. Blanton Canady. He shared his path to becoming the owner of multiple McDonald’s franchises, which highlighted the importance of higher education and the effort he put forth to afford tuition. He also discussed the many positions he held after college that led him to becoming a franchise owner. Thank you Mr. Canady and to all those who came!

Entrepreneurship 101 educates the next generation of entrepreneurs in the public housing communities. Be on the lookout for future Entrepreneurship 101 programs in coming weeks!

NPHM Unveils New Logo!


We are thrilled to unveil our new logo. The logo was designed by Studio Blue, the design firm behind the Power of Place: Campaign for the National Public Housing Museum, the first-place winner of the American Alliance of Museums Publications Design Award. We will be rolling out the logo on our fully on our website and stationary over the coming weeks!

$300k for the National Public Housing Museum in Illinois Capital Budget

Thanks to the leadership of Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter, Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Representative Art Turner, and Senate President John Cullerton, this year's Illinois Capital Budget includes a line item of $300,000 for funding the Museum’s capital campaign to build its new home in the last remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes.

Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter

Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter

As Senator Hunter declared in her letter of endorsement for our project “The Museum is exactly right for these times as it preserves a key chapter of our nation's history”. The Museum is site of conscience a historically significant site that links the past with today’s most urgent social issues.

The Museum’s story starts with a simple truth - that all people have the right to a place to call home. The NPHM highlights the role of public housing in advancing this great, unfulfilled aspiration. Using the arts and culture to archive and share the stories of public housing residents, the Museum will create opportunities for visitors to understand and engage in innovative public policy reform in order to reimagine the future of our communities and our society at large.

Three restored apartments are the core of the Museum. Site-specific exhibitions with historic artifacts and countless personal stories will interpret the nation’s public housing experience from the time of the New Deal’s 1937 Housing Act to the present. Visitors will learn about the intense political struggles over the Housing Act and then President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” which in included “the right of every family to a decent home – mirroring the Museum’s own mission statement that “everyone deserves a place to call home”.

Illinois State Senator Patricia Van Pelt

Illinois State Senator Patricia Van Pelt

Visitors will also learn about the role of redlining, urban renewal, and racism that shaped public housing demographics since its inception. And, how efforts at racial desegregation, political pressure, and cost cutting led to the demolition of distressed high rises in so many cities, and the displacement of tens of thousands of families.

Through storytelling and exhibits the Museum will create opportunities for visitors to understand and engage the public in a conversation about what housing was, and what it could be- driving innovative public policy reform to reimagine the future of our communities, our society, and the places we call home.  

For more information about our work, and the campaign to fund our permanent home at 1322 W Taylor, please click here, or call 773-245-1621.

Saturday Hours

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We're excited to announce that this Saturday, June 8, the Museum will be open for visitors between 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM. Guests will be able to engage with the interactive exhibition, Undesign the Redline, which closes on Tuesday, June 18.

Visit our website FAQ page for more information to plan your trip!

NPHM awarded Champions of Freedom Award!

NPHM staff and board members (left to right): Will Raff, Sunny Fischer, Lisa Lee, Mark Jaeschke, Cleopatra Watson, Gail Dugas, Crystal Palmer.

NPHM staff and board members (left to right): Will Raff, Sunny Fischer, Lisa Lee, Mark Jaeschke, Cleopatra Watson, Gail Dugas, Crystal Palmer.

The NPHM was recently honored by the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) with their Champions of Freedom Award, whose mission is to educate, organize and empower tenants to have a voice in the decisions that affect the affordability and availability of safe, decent, and accessible housing.

We are thrilled and humbled to accept this award in recognition of all of our partnerships and programs that are committed to amplifying the voices, experiences, and stories of public housing residents. We believe that storytelling can be a catalyst for innovative public policy solutions that are responsive to people’s needs and lived experiences.

NPHM Welcomes Cleopatra Watson to the team!

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The Museum welcomes community organizer Cleopatra Watson, as the Entrepreneurship Hub Coordinator. With a liberal arts degree and Masters of Social Work, from Jane Addams College of Social Work. Recently, Cleopatra ran for Alderman of the 9th ward in one of the most historical municipal elections of our lifetime. The 9th ward is located in the far south region of Chicago and home to 50,000 people many of whom are predominantly black people who live in Altgeld-Murray homes, Pullman, and Rosemoor to name a few communities. For her very first debut she earned more than 25% of the vote! Cleopatra will be instrumental in helping lead the development of this initiative.

The Museum’s Entrepreneurship Hub addresses the systemic and structural barriers to entrepreneurship and aims to a create a robust infrastructure to support a new generation of small businesses and cooperatives by public housing residents.

Equity In Action: The Furture of Affordable Housing Conversation

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Chicago and other metropolitan regions across the U.S. are facing significant stressors to their housing supply—rising construction costs, gentrification in some areas and disinvestment in others, run-down infrastructure, and shifting policies at every level of government. Leading thinkers, designers, artists, agencies and organizations are exploring the most innovative ideas to overcome obstacles and shape the future of affordable housing. These tactics are being implemented locally with projects like the co-located Little Italy Library and Related Midwest’s Taylor Street Apartments, Skender’s prototype modular apartment, and the Disruptive Design competition for new affordable, owner-occupied housing. These innovations will influence the decisions of planners, builders and residents across the nation. Join us to explore innovation already underway and learn about the challenges to be overcome.

Featured Panelists:

  • Ciere Boatright, Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI)

  • Jacques Sandberg, Vice President of Affordable Housing, Related Midwest

  • Tim Swanson, Chief Design Officer, Skender


Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6 p.m., with time to mingle before and after. The is a free event, but we ask that you register in advance to attend. There is a suggested donation of $10. Snacks and soft drinks will be served.

If you have any additional questions or need special accommodations, please contact our friends at

NPHM Awarded 40k Art Works Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


The National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to the National Public Housing Museum to present a solo exhibition of Chicago-born, New York-based artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn (born 1977), and to train current and former public housing residents as museum educators. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program. The agency received 1,592 Art Works applications for this round of grantmaking, and will award 977 grants in this category.

NPHM Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Yun Lee says of the project, "Quinn is a captivating artist who is producing some of the most important paintings today. The fact that his work also grapples with the history of public housing, makes him the perfect artist to inaugurate our contemporary art and cultural workforce training programs at the Museum." Lee also added, “We are proud of our community benefits agreement that commits us to providing museum and art history education for public housing residents, and to co-design a Museum tour with residents that will integrate their lived experiences.”

The exact dates of the exhibit are yet to be determined, but recruitment and training of public housing residents will begin in Fall 2019.

NPHM Hosts On The Table Event

Partnering with Mona Noriega, the Chair and Commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Enterprise Community Partners, and a diverse group of Chicagoans, NPHM hosted a scrumptious and exciting luncheon on May 14th, 2019 to listen, discuss, and re-imagine our city grappling with the history of segregation and divestment due to the legacies of redlining and other systemic forms of racism.  

Participants toured the exhibit Undesign the Redline, and then gathered to generate creative ideas about how we can together intentionally undesign these systems for a more equitable future for all Chicagoans and drafted a a memo that will be shared with our new Mayor.

View photos from the event below!

NPHM Hosts Assessment of Fair Housing Workshop

“It comes down to us, what kind of people we want to be, what kind of society we want to live in...”
-George Lipsitz

On April 25, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Enterprise Community Partners, and Oak Park Regional Housing Center and the National Public Housing Museum held the a conversation and workshop entitled Assessment of Fair Housing: Understanding Our History, Strengthening Our Communities conversation.

The program featured nationally-renowned sociologist, author, and expert on race and inequality, Professor George Lipsitz of the University of California in conversation with Undesign the Redline, a thought-provoking exhibition connecting the history of housing segregation to political and social issues of today, through the powerful narratives of the people and communities affected by redlining and other discriminatory practices.

Thanks to all involved with putting the event together!

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Celebrate National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve collected a few poems written about public housing, as well as poems by public housing residents. Read them below!

A Black Girl’s Attempt At Escaping Gentrification

I pray y’all make my name a good poem
A liquor store lacquer
A flash mob crip walk on Garfield
I pray somebody writes an ode to Englewood
Turn my name into a city of God in gold
A black hole of black girl resurrection

-Patricia Frazier

Warriors Are Us

We are warriors that run through the dark…
We are warriors that yield onto no end…
We are warriors that restrain ourselves from failure…
We are warriors that prevail…
We are warriors hidden in the valley of our domain…
We are warriors not to go insane…
Yet we are warriors that need love…
Nurture the soul into the realm of nature’s source…
The source of heart…
Let us the warriors move forth into the next millennium, carrying the baggage of hope onto our shoulders…
Warriors of our destiny…
We are Lathrop Strong survivors of Earth!

-Tommy Woods, Lathrop Homes

An Inner City Tales (Ode to Cabrini)
Born into a tenement in the heart of the windy city in the summer of sixty-nine,
Fourth small mouth to be fed and second girl in line.
A time just after the assassinations of Malcolm, Medgar, JFK, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
A time when proclamations like "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," were the in thing.
When Bell-bottomed jeans and afros swayed effortlessly against the wind,
An era when Motown was king and Stax was In!
Our guardians were diligent and always instilled in us the need to get ahead,
Stressing that there is strength in numbers and to stick together no matter what was said.
70', school bells, limited teaching apparatuses and burned out teachers and no recess,
Escaping boredom, through reading autobiographies always held my interest.
Benefiting from RIF (Reading is Fundamental) reading Angelou, Hansberry, Morrison, Moody, X and Cruz.
Discovering and rediscovering, Richard Wright, Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes.
Brown scarred knees from repeatedly falling upon thick blacktop.
Corner stores, liquors stores, ice cream, pickles,
Now-n-laters, barber and beauty shops.
Loud sounds blaring to break through red glistening project walls, Aretha, Chaka, Diana, O'Jays, Jacksons, Curtis Mayfield and Lou Rawls.
Broken elevators, and broken dreams, straightening combs and fade creams.
Mayoral candidates making mockeries out of project residents by handing out
V-necks, turkeys, and miniature Christmas trees in exchange for votes.
Some project residents coming undone and always at each others throats.
Skateboards, hopscotch, jump rope,
Red Light Green Light and Mother May I?
Young men masquerading as gangsters on street corners, over already-conquered city turf, why?
Soon childhood laughter is silenced by gunshots and young bodies dropping.
Caskets, tears, sensing my own mortality at 13, anticipating my own heart stopping.
Guardians' tenacity paid off in the spring of '83 they rescued me,
Before our transition out of the ghetto,
I noticed young women making spaces in their bellies for little ones, completely throwing caution to the wind,
Yeah, babies having babies starting the cycle all over again...

-Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

The Off/Page Project presents its latest short film, "This is Home," produced in conjunction with The Center for Investigative Reporting's new report on failures of Richmond, Calif.'s housing authority.

Off/Page recruited three Richmond poets -- Deandre Evans, William Hartfield-Peoples and Donte Clark -- to work with CIR reporter Amy Julia Harris in the Hacienda and Nevin Plaza housing projects, interviewing sources and walking through dilapidated, mold-infested buildings during her investigation. The poets also worked with drafts of CIR's research to inform their writing. Playing the roles of both documentarian and storyteller, the poets incorporated Harris' findings into their own investigation of the larger socioeconomic state of Richmond.

Watch the video below:

NPHM Public Art Entrance Announcement!


We are thrilled to announce that Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous will be creating the public art welcoming entrance of the Museum’s future home at the last remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes at 1322 West Taylor Street. Many thanks to the selection committee, chaired by Deanna Haggag, with Sunny Fischer, Brad White, Peter Landon, Dedrea Gray, Lisa Yun Lee, and Robert Smith, for their work. We look forward to working with Williams and Jeyifous and contributing to an amazing new public art work for the Near-West Side of Chicago!

Their artwork is intended to make a visual statement and help share the Museum’s mission, vision, and values of housing as a human right. If you are interested in supporting the design and installation of this permanent art piece, please contact our Director of Development, Sue Enright, at

In addition to this exciting news, Williams and Jeyifous have also been announced as the designers of the recently commissioned Shirley Chisholm monument in Brooklyn, New York. Chisholm was a trailblazer; she was the first black woman to serve in Congress, representing a district that encompassed Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood where she grew up. Four years later, she ran for president, becoming the first black woman to seek the nomination from either party.

We are so excited to be working with such talented and forward-thinking artists and wish them the best moving forward with the Chisholm monument and beyond!