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.
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”.
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.