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    Visionary Leader

    Social Reformer

    Women's Rights Advocate

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The Center for Women’s History and Leadership (CWHL), officially launched in August 2017, has been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work since then. Three board meetings were held in September, November, and January, primarily addressing policy, organizational, and staffing issues and documentation. In addition, a Mission, Vision, and Values statement was developed by staff and approved by the board.

CWHL applied for and received a $5,000 planning grant from the Evanston Community Foundation’s root2fruit alumni grant program. In April, the board undertook a two-day planning session moderated by a consultant paid for by the grant. Goals, objectives, critical success factors, and key results were articulated for the next three years. The board will now take each plan objective and break them down into milestones, resource recommendations and timing recommendations. These will be translated into key performance indicators into a dashboard recommendation for board monitoring.

The CWHL has also received several proposed logo designs from two pro bono graphic art professionals. We are in the process of refining some of the concepts and will be choosing a final design this summer.


The Frances Willard House Museum was recently given an Evanston Preservation & Design Award for the interior restoration of four rooms done in Rest Cottage in 2016. The City of Evanston’s Preservation Commission invited homeowners, architects, contractors, and Evanston residents to nominate preservation projects for the 2018 Evanston Preservation & Design Awards. This program is aimed at recognizing property owners, architects, contractors, and local organizations for their contribution to maintaining and enhancing the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of Evanston through construction projects in six categories. A total of thirty nominations were made this year across these categories.

The Museum was given an award for Proper Rehabilitation/Restoration. Lori Osborne, Museum Director, accepted the award at a reception on April 26. Three certificates were given to us – one to the WCTU as owners, one to Janet Steidl, Steidl Associates as the project director, and one to the Museum itself. A videotaped interview of Janet will be shown at the Evanston City Council on May 21.

We also want to thank the organizations that funded this restoration work: Alpha Phi Foundation; Fort Dearborn Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and National Society of the DAR; the New Hampshire and Ohio WCTU; and many individual donors.


Loyola graduate students presenting on Willard and Wells

Loyola University Chicago Public History graduate students and alumni Ella Wagner, Stephen Petrie, and Julia Lacher recently presented their poster “Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells — Interpreting a History of Racism and Reform” at the National Council on Public History’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada in April. The project grew out of a collaboration between the Frances Willard House Museum and Loyola’s Spring 2017 “Management of History Museums” course to develop an interpretive plan for the history of the conflict between Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells. The two prominent reformers drew international press attention in 1894 and 1895, when Wells criticized Willard for making racist statements and for the WCTU’s reluctance to condemn lynching. This summer, Wagner will continue to work with the Willard House to interpret this difficult aspect of Willard’s life story in the form of a digital exhibit. Stay tuned as the project progresses!


In March FWHM was pleased to host a local Girls Scouts troop to celebrate Women’s History Month. We enjoyed giving them a special youth-centered tour of the house, and then engaging them in some Willard-inspired crafts, as well as teaching them about community activism through a petition writing exercise.

“We brought our local Brownie troop (45775 from Lincolnwood Elementary School) to the Frances Willard House as part of a Women’s History Month celebration. The guides designed everything with the girls’ developmental needs and interests in mind, so the duration was perfect, the level and quantity of content was appropriate, and the hands-on activities were engaging. None of the girls had ever been into the house before our program date, and it was great to hear questions and conversation about Frances Willard’s intelligence and innovative spirit. I know some of the girls are planning to come back with their parents, and some of the parent chaperons are interested in returning for an adult-centered tour. Thank you for the staff for designing this special program for our group!” -Elory Rozner, co-leader of Brownie Troop 45775

Thank you Elory and the troop for a terrific visit! If your group is interested in arranging a visit to FWHM, please contact us at info@franceswillardhouse.org




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