• frances willard slider

    Visionary Feminist

    Social Justice Advocate

    Political Activist

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August 15, 2017

On Sunday, August 13, 2017 members of the Frances Willard Historical Association (FWHA) voted to re-incorporate as a new non-profit organization, The Center for Women’s History and Leadership. Accompanying this name change, later this fall the new Center will also become the owner of the property and historic buildings in the current Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) Evanston Local Historic District. The Center’s mission will be to honor the leadership of women of the past to inform the present and inspire leaders of the future.

The Frances Willard House Museum and Willard Memorial Library and WCTU Archives will continue as the focal points at the site, with tours, programs and research services expanding. But this change will allow for greater stewardship, increased capacity, and expanded programming for the entire property. The new nonprofit will receive ownership of the Willard House, the WCTU Administration Building, and the two flanking Victorian residences (located at 1724-1732 Chicago Avenue in Evanston) on November 1, 2017.

Glen Madeja, Executive Director of the FWHA, said, “This is a very exciting time and opportunity for a redefinition of the FWHA into an expanded organization.  We are very honored that the WCTU, as it approaches it’s 150th anniversary, has entrusted us with ensuring the future of its legacy. Members and leaders of both organizations have been working on this project for over two years. Their goals have been to safeguard the future of the property, ensure the legacy of the WCTU, and provide for proper stewardship of the Willard House Museum and the WCTU Archives so that they remain open to the public and available to researchers long into the future.”

A public celebration of this historic change will be held Sunday, September 24th at the annual Do Everything event, highlighting Willard’s brand of effecting change and celebrating the leader in all of us. This family-friendly event will take place from 3:00-4:30 p.m. on the front lawn of Willard House Museum, and will include light refreshments and a preview of plans for the site.

Other News

Closed Sunday, September 3rd

Please note we will not be open for regular tours on Sunday, September 3rd because of the holiday weekend.

Check out our restored rooms!

We have completed restoring four rooms in Willard House and have revamped several museum rooms to tell a broader story of the history of Frances Willard, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and their astounding work advocating for women’s rights and social justice. We think you will be surprised by the contemporary relevance of their work and hope you will come to visit soon. Tours take place every Sunday (March – December). Tour hours are from 1-4 pm and tours take place at 1, 2 and 3 pm. Special tours are also available by appointment. Please email tours@franceswillardhouse.org for more information about tours or to schedule a special tour.

Third Thursday Lunchtime Tours

For those people who can’t make it to the museum on Sunday or those who work downtown but live elsewhere, we have added an abbreviated tour to our schedule.  Tours will take place from 12:15 – 12:45 on the third Thursday of each month.  It will be a 1/2 hour tour, first floor only, for half-price ($5). You will see each of the recently restored four rooms and our revamped Annex. You won’t be disappointed!

Featured Collections Object: The Polyglot Petition

Our new display of the Polyglot Petition.

The polyglot petition is considered the first international effort to stop the trafficking of alcohol and opium. “Polyglot” comes from two Greek words: “poly” meaning many and “glot” meaning languages. The petition has signatures from residents of six continents. We would like to thank the Jim and Annanette Harper Family Foundation for their generous support of this display.

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