News & Events

Upcoming Events

Special Kids Tours
Thursday, August 23rd 1:00, 2:00, & 3:00 p.m.

Looking for something to beat the end of summer blues and get the kids out of the house? Come to the Frances Willard House Museum on Thursday, Aug. 23rd for special, kids-focused tours followed by craft time. Enjoy a 30 minute tour that will include stories and props aimed to engage with the whole family. Afterwards guests will be invited to participate in a craft activity.

Tours will take place at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. and tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6 (or for FWHM members). RSVPs are suggested for space considerations, and can be emailed to or by calling 847-328-7500.

Willard House Gallery Talk with Artist in Resident Vanessa Filley
Thursday, August 30th 2:00-4:00 p.m.

On Thursday August 30th fine art photographer, Vanessa Filley, will be giving a talk and walkthrough of her photography currently on display at the Frances Willard House Museum (FWHM). As FWHM’s inaugural artist in residence, Filley’s project is inspired by the museum – its story and its collection. Her work imagines a web of connections bridging the perseverance of women organizing throughout history to women organizing today.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Filley’s art in the setting that inspired it, and hear first-hand from the artist on her relevant and thought-provoking project.

Filley’s talk will take place at the Frances Willard House Museum from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and costs $5 (FWHM members free). Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. RSVPs can be emailed to or by calling 847-328-7500.

Tour Evanston Women’s History Map
Now available for purchase!

FWHM, in partnership with the Evanston Women’s History Project and Shorefront Legacy Center, is proud to announce the first annual Tour Evanston Women’s History Map. The 2018 map highlights fifteen women’s history sites throughout Evanston around the theme, She Persisted. It provides a fun, informative and relevant summer activity as a self-guided walking, biking, and driving tour, with brief information about fifteen amazing Evanston women.

Lori Osborne, director of FWHM and the Women’s History Project says: “We are excited to bring this new way to experience Evanston women’s history to the community. It combines two of our favorite things: healthy activity and women’s history!”

Designed by local illustrator Caroline Brown, the map costs $10 and is available for purchase at the Frances Willard House and the Evanston History Center (EHC). It is available for purchase throughout the summer when these locations are open (Willard House – Thursdays and Sundays 1-4 p.m.; EHC – Thursdays-Sundays 1-4 p.m.). Additional locations to be announced.

Sponsorship of the map comes from Emile Hogan Broker @PropertiesThe Wellness Revolution, and The Printed Word.


Past Events

June’s Views program with Margaret Liu

We started off a busy June with a series of stellar events. On June 2nd our inaugural Artist in Residence, Vanessa Filley, held an open studio session as part of Evanston Made. Filley, a fine art photographer whose work focuses on the perseverance of women organizing throughout history, will be on display at the Willard House throughout the summer.

On June 3rd author Margaret Liu Waihan shared the story of her grandmother, Frances Willard Liu-Wang Liming. Inspired by Waihan’s research in the Willard Archives, the talk was called, Evanston and the Making of China’s First Professional Feminist. 

On June 10th Janet Steidl, the Interior Restoration Consultant and Project Manager for our award-winning restoration of three rooms in 2016 led a special, behind-the-scenes tour. She walked attendees through the rooms unpacking the detective work, research, and decision making that went into restoring the dining room, parlor, and front office.

May 20th we hosted a workshop on erasure poetry led by Alison Thumel, as part of the Evanston Literary Festival. Participants were led through activities that challenged them to consider how erasing words from their work could transform their poetry.

Participants of the Evanston Literary Festival workshop in May

This April we hosted one of Evanston Public Library’s book discussions on Claudia Rankine’s new book, “Citizen.” We shared thought-provoking conversation with community members on this bold look at racism in America.

In March we partnered with the Evanston History Center to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th with a breakfast and talk highlighting the work of Evanston women leaders in the morning, and then joined the YWCA Evanston/NorthShore for a film showing and discussion in the evening. The following Sunday we offered special house tours focusing on the WCTU’s historic work against sex trafficking worldwide.

We kicked off 2018 with Cabin-Fever kids tours in January.  Families came and enjoyed 30 minute, interactive tours followed by craft time. It was a fun way to end the holiday break!

In December we commemorated the Christmas season with two holiday tours.  Both tours were fun, intimate gatherings where we turned back the clock with visitors and learned about Christmas at the Willard House in 1887 and remembered it as a time for taking a break from the regular hustle and bustle.

We reached max. capacity with 30+ attendees for our first lecture in the new Views programming series on Sunday, November 5th.  Author Joan Marie Johnson discussed her new book, Funding Feminism: Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women’s Movement, 1870-1967 to a sold out crowd at the Willard House.  She talked about why wealthy women gave to the woman suffrage and temperance movements, and the impact their donations had securing political equality for women.  She unpacked the deep historical roots of the tensions over wealth, power, and unity that persist today.  After the lecture there were great questions and lively discussion during the Q&A.


A great crowd for the event

On September 24th we had 150 people turn out for our “Do Everything – Share Your Story” event.  Attendees heard an inspiring talk from speaker Jan Schakowsky on becoming a leader for the causes, and then enjoyed an introduction to the StoryCorps app, an open house walk-through, cake and refreshments, and photo ops with a life-size Frances Willard cut-out.  With beautiful weather, it was a wonderful day!

Current Exhibits

“Cultivating Character:  The Early Life of Frances E. Willard”IMG_0836

Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) is known today for her work as the charismatic president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union from 1879 to 1898. But what made her the best-known woman in America at the time of her death in 1898? What forces shaped her?

This exhibit explores how Frances E. Willard’s family, education—both what she received as a student and imparted as a teacher—and religion helped to form the woman who became America’s leading female social reformer of the 1880s and 1890s.




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