New Hull-House director’s vision links past, present

Jennifer Scott (F)

“I look forward to expanding and refining the radical legacy of the Hull-House founders,” says Jennifer A. Scott. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services


The connections between past and present are clear to Jennifer A. Scott, new director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.

The museum, near Student Center East on Halsted Street at the original Hull-House site, is a memorial to the social reformer and first American woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The museum continues the settlement house vision, linking research, education and social engagement.

“I look forward to expanding and refining the radical legacy of the Hull-House founders and working with museum staff and stakeholders to make sustainable connections between this history and contemporary social justice issues in Chicago,” Scott said.

Scott was consultant to the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience in New York, where she worked with 25 museums and cultural centers across the U.S. to create original content for a two-year initiative, the National Dialogues on Immigration.

Scott was an oral historian at the Brooklyn Historical Society, where she interviewed subjects for a series that encouraged dialogue beyond the boundaries of ethnicity, race, nationality and sexuality. She taught cultural anthropology, arts and social engagement, race and ethnic studies and museum studies at The New School for Public Engagement, Pratt Institute and Parsons.

“In New York, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to work with a variety of sites of conscience and sites of consciousness. The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is no less visionary. It draws upon a rich history of social activism and political reform of the Progressive Era,” Scott said.


Jane Addams Hull House

The museum is located in the original settlement house founded by Jane Addams. Photo: UIC Photo Services

Scott writes and lectures on arts and civic engagement internationally. In 2012, the U.S. State Department in Berlin invited her to speak throughout Germany on heritage, the role of public memory and civil rights. She spoke at the Museum of London, Docklands, on social responsibility, cultural sustainability and participatory strategies for museums.

From 2003 to 2013, Scott was vice director and research director at Weeksville Heritage Center, a historic house museum dedicated to Weeksville, one of America’s early free black communities, now a part of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood. At Weeksville, she conducted historical and curatorial research on 19th- and early 20th-century communities, co-curated exhibitions, launched an oral history project and supervised all collections and preservation initiatives.

Scott also worked on “Place Matters,” a project by City Lore on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to document historic places throughout New York City and develop new placemaking strategies. She produced in-depth historical profiles for a free public database.

Scott holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in African-American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Stanford University. She is a contributor to museum and heritage publications, including MuseumID, and is co-editor of a 2015 anthology, Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals, the Atlantic World and Beyond.


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