Center for Women’s History and Leadership

Inspiring leaders of the future; learning from women of the past.

Mission, Vision, Values, and Activities

Our Mission: To equip all women to realize their leadership potential through education and empowerment.

The CWHL offers education, training, and resources to engage all leaders, especially women and girls, with the enduring ideas and issues of Frances Willard, the WCTU, and other women of the past, such as equality, self-determination, and personal well-being. Building on these traditions, the CWHL will equip and inspire leaders to action, creating stronger and healthier communities for the future.

Our Vision: A world where women are leaders in every community.

The CWHL strives for a world in which the lingering marginalization of women is replaced with equality, reflected in women filling a proportional number of leadership positions in their communities.  The CWHL works to promote an understanding that strong and healthy communities are created when all members are accepted and encouraged to take on leadership roles in the issues and challenges they collectively face.

Core Values:

The CWHL makes its decisions and takes actions using the following guiding principles, and encourages these values in others:

  • Act with respect and kindness – “Let Something Good Be Said”
  • Treat everyone equitably
  • Encourage healthy lifestyles and safe homes
  • Model a Frances Willard style of leadership by listening, adapting, and empowering
  • Discuss all issues with candor and openness
  • Honor commitments and take responsibility
  • Meet challenges with confidence and optimism


In order to fulfill its mission, the Center will:

  • Preserve the organizational legacy of the WCTU, the individual legacy of Frances Willard and other WCTU leaders, the historic buildings and site, and the public education significance and purpose of each;
  • Develop and offer public programs with an educational focus for people of all ages (e.g., women’s and girls’ leadership programs, civics and women’s history curricula, and hands-on training and workshops) related to the mission of the CWHL;
  • Operate the Frances Willard House Museum and preserve the House and its collection;
  • Offer research services through the WCTU Archives, which houses the records of the WCTU, the papers of Frances Willard and other women leaders, and other temperance organizations;
  • Accession additional collections (artifacts and archival) that further the mission
  • Create exhibits that further the CWHL’s mission as well as highlight the WCTU’s collections
  • Support women’s advancement through engagement and partnership with organizations that align with the mission
  • Care for the grounds and other structures at the site; manage the rental of properties as deemed appropriate and necessary