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    Visionary Leader

    Social Reformer

    Women's Rights Advocate

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Willard House Tours in December and Winter Closure: The Willard House will be closed for tours Sunday, December 1st for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We will be open two Sundays in December – December 8th and 15th – for Holiday-themed tours. We will be closed January and February. The WCTU Archives remains open by appointment.

Playing in the Parlor: A Winter Afternoon at the Willard House

Start the new year with a celebration of history! Join us for an afternoon of winter break fun at the Willard House. Kids will explore the House Museum and learn about Frances Willard, women leaders, and what it was like to grow up during the nineteenth century. Afterwards, attendees will bring the Museum’s story to life while honing their public speaking skills through nineteenth-century parlor games, as well as improv and storytelling exercises.

Music box in the Willard House front parlor (Photo copyright Donna Wesley Spencer)

The workshop will take place on Thursday, January 2, 2020 from 2:00-3:30pm. Tickets are $5 for children aged 8-14. RSVPs are required. To register, email info@franceswillard.org or call 847-328-7500.

The workshop will be led by Fiona Maxwell who is an intern at the house and also serves as a tours docent. Maxwell is a PhD student in History at the University of Chicago. She received her BA in History and Theatre from Northwestern University with a module in Theatre for Young Audiences. Her research focuses on the history of process-oriented drama in educational and community settings, specifically in Chicago settlement houses. She received a grant from the UChicagoGRAD Global Impact Internship Program to fund a project exploring nineteenth-century women’s public speaking and parlor performance. She is also an assistant teacher at the Piven Theatre Workshop, where she has assisted with youth classes, youth performing ensembles, and the PEEP ensemble for adults with developmental disabilities.

Women and Prohibition: A War of Mothers and Daughters, Sisters and Wives

Women and Prohibition is a new exhibit at the Frances Willard House Museum that highlights the work of women to expand their public lives, advocate for themselves, and protect their families from the serious problems that alcohol can cause. Visitors can learn how women acted in the political arena before they were able to vote and how they worked to gain the vote to extend their reach. This exhibit is part of our ongoing recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment.

Women and Prohibition will open Thursday, September 5, 2019. The museum is open Sundays from 1-4 p.m. and admission is $10 ($5 for students).

This exhibit is a companion to two exhibits at the Evanston History Center – Dry Evanston: the Untold Story (up through January 2020) and Spirited: Prohibition in America (up through October 20, 2019). Special joint tours of the Willard House and the Dawes House are offered in conjunction with these exhibits. Purchase an admission to either museum to receive your coupon for half-off tours at the other museum. 

Truth Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells

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A Community History Project of the Frances Willard House Museum and Archives

In the 1890s, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union President Frances Willard and journalist and activist Ida B. Wells fought a war of words in the international press over Willard’s lack of public support for Wells’ anti-lynching campaign. Wells called Willard’s moral leadership into question and demanded that Willard and the WCTU join her anti-lynching campaign. Under Willard’s leadership, the WCTU eventually passed resolutions opposing lynching, but Willard’s language and actions complicate her legacy.

Truth Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells is a community history project that explores this conflict. The project includes a digital exhibit of original archival sources, community conversations, and public programs. The goal of the project is to uncover the full truth of the conflict, and explore its many meanings and ramifications for our world today. 

To visit the new website, click here.

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