The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois Chicago and the Chicago Public Library are collaborating on a summer learning initiative that will take place at 81 library branches across Chicago.
The City of Stories collaboration, beginning June 27 and running throughout the summer, will allow the museum to share information, activities and programs with library staff and thousands of library patrons across Chicago boroughs.
The museum will expand the library system’s free drop-in program with activities based on the history of Hull House’s welfare reform and storytelling activities, including bookbinding, zine-making, art-making, improvisation and theatrical arts. The activities will unveil collective and neighborhood stories and help everyone – children, youth and adults – to raise their voices.
“Jane Addams believed that everyone has a story to tell and public institutions like libraries and museums could use those voices for the common good. The partnership between the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and the Chicago Public Library will provide thousands of families and youth with an opportunity to share their stories and voices with their neighbors,” said Ross Jordan, interim director and curatorial director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.
City of Stories includes professional development workshops led by museum staff as well as Chicago-based artist Regin Igloria and improviser Mo Phillips-Spotts.
Programs are led by librarians, and thousands of take-home activity and educational kits are provided in addition to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum’s educational resources and materials. These include books that recently won the Jane Addams Peace Association Book Prize and other City of Stories books.
“The Chicago Public Library is excited to partner with the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum this summer across our 81 library locations,” said Chicago Public Library commissioner Chris Brown. “The partnership allows us to work together to share important stories with children, youth and families, and invites communities to come together to tell their own stories.”
As part of the program, a special installation of artist Aram Han Sifuentes’ “Protest Banners” will be on display in the YOUmedia space at the Harold Washington Library. YOUmedia will also house a banner lending library for the duration of the installation. Just like one would borrow a book from the library, banners can be borrowed for free from the Harold Washington Library front desk. A banner making workshop with artist educator Moki Tantoco will be held on July 21 from 2-4pm at the YOUmedia Teen Center at the Harold Washington Library
“The Protest Banner Lending Library responds to the urgent needs of the daily and political climate. It enables a rapid response and contributes to the ongoing calls for justice, peace and self-determination. As the artist and creator of The Protest Banner Library, I look forward to hosting it at the Harold Washington Library and giving library visitors the opportunity to voice their concerns and see how the artworks we create together are being used in the world become,” Sifuentes said.
In preparation for the partnership, the museum developed packs for educators, youth leaders, librarians and other facilitators that combine the history of Hull House and participatory educational approaches for grades four through twelfth. These packages were first developed for the exhibit “Gómez-Peñas Casa Museo: A Living Museum and Archive”, which ran from September 2021 to May 2022.
Theater Games for Your Classroom: Origins of Improvisational and Community Theater in Hull House: The aim is to delve into the rich history of Hull house progressive theater arts. Hull house educators Viola Spolin and Neva Boyd developed the use of improvisational practice as a means of storytelling and classroom collaboration.
health magazines: The focus is on how art can help us speak out about issues in our communities. In the early 20th century, residents of Hull House in Chicago’s 19th ward made myriad strides toward public health reform, from establishing the city’s first public baths to enacting the state’s first child labor law. Use of this guide allows for the creation and illustration of a zine on a public health issue in the participant’s community.
Pots, Clay, Identity: Paint Pinch Pots: The Hull-House Kilns (1925-1935) provided a space for highly skilled Mexican immigrants to make pottery and generate income from the sale of their creations. This pack includes step-by-step instructions for making and decorating clay pots, as well as identity and heritage questions. The aim is to express identity through sound. No oven is required.
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum draws on the legacy of international peace activist and feminist Jane Addams and other social reformers who lived and worked alongside their immigrant neighbors to bring about social change on Chicago’s Near West Side. The museum is housed in two of the original buildings: the Hull Home, a National Historic Landmark, and the Residents’ Dining Hall on the UIC campus. The museum combines the history of the Hull House estate with current social justice issues. Exhibitions and public programs highlight stories of activism, progressive education, and democratic principles of participation and exchange.
In addition to the Chicago Public Library system, other partners include The North Branch Projects, a pop-up community organization that uses book art as an organizational tool; MoMo’s Book Club; The Jane Addams Peace Association; and YOUmedia Chicago, housed in 29 branches of the Chicago Public Library system.
For more information on the City of Stories initiative, visit Jane Addams Hull House Museum website.