Board vote puts museum on track to open doors in 2018 at 1322 W. Taylor Street in Chicago.
A Chicago Housing Authority board vote Tuesday signals a leap forward for the National Public Housing Museum. The board approved a lease agreement that will enable the Museum to lease half of the CHA-owned building on a long-term, $1-a-year lease.
“This is such an important milestone for the Museum and we want to express our deep gratitude to the CHA board and staff for this vote,” said Transitional Executive Director Pat O’Connell.
The NPHM board and staff are raising additional funds for the build-out, planning a first phase opening and preview exhibit for October 2017 as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and conducting a search for an executive director.
CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. said, “The Chicago Housing Authority supports the National Public Housing Museum project and believes it is important to the CHA, our residents, the community, and the city as a whole because it will highlight the role that public housing has played in the lives of Chicagoans, while preserving and rehabilitating a historic building and transforming it into a vibrant community asset. The museum will be a welcome addition to Taylor Street and the Little Italy community.”
Museum Board Chair Sunny Fischer says the board envisions a public opening in its new space in fall 2018. “We can now move forward because of the CHA board’s leadership – we are very excited.” said Fischer, who grew up in public housing in the Bronx, New York. “Public housing has played a major role in our national identity and has housed more than 10 million Americans from all walks of life. By talking about public housing, we talk about the public good.”
On Saturday, October 1st from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 1322 W. Taylor St., the Museum has scheduled a celebratory “Last Look” event inside the red-brick building, designed by John Holabird in 1938. This event, which is free and open to the public will be the last public viewing of the Museum before construction begins. For more information, please visit www.nphm.org. and sign up on the event’s Eventbrite page.
The National Public Housing Museum is the first cultural institution in the United States dedicated to interpreting the American experience in public housing. The Museum draws on the power of place and memory to illuminate the resilience of the poor and working class families of every race and ethnicity to realize the promise of America. It seeks to open its permanent home in the last extant building of the Jane Addams Homes.
The Jane Addams was part of ABLA Homes (an acronym for three other housing developments including the Robert Brooks Homes, Loomis Courts, and Grace Abbott Homes totaling 3,596 units) and sits prominently within the Little Italy neighborhood.
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