A Cultural Institution and Historic Site for the Nation
Public housing has had a profound impact on hundreds of thousands of Americans throughout the 20th century. To date, no institution in the country is devoted to telling the 70-year history of public housing. Now Chicago has a unique opportunity to tell this story through the creation of a new cultural institution that will be located in an historic building, one of the city’s earliest public housing residences.
Born out of the early vision of public housing residents, the National Public Housing Museum will bring to life the many stories and voices of residents, and examine public housing’s effect on the larger patterns of community and urban development in Chicago and other U.S. cities. This historic site will draw on the power of place and memory to illuminate the experiences of poor and working class families who have struggled to realize the promise America offered. We believe that such an institution, conceived as a living history museum, can reach through time - to preserve and reveal history - so that the future can learn from the past.
Like other social history museums throughout the world, the National Public Housing Museum will foster the values of diversity, tolerance, citizen participation, and social equity. By examining the many lessons of public housing, both its success and failures, the Museum’s exhibitions and public forums will make important connections to today’s urban challenges. It will give people pause to think, to talk, and to take action on issues that shape us all: family, home, shelter, and community.
The Museum’s creation will require commitment, hard work, and support from many diverse partners. We invite you to read more about plans for the Museum, and to join the effort by becoming a founding member of this exciting new historic and cultural institution.