Frances Willard Museum Visit
On March 3rd, CACG’s hosts Glen Madeja and Janet Steidt delighted the group with presentations
on their collaborative restoration of the Frances Willard House.
Janet has been a registered interior designer in private practice for 25 years. She
taught at several Chicago institutions, and has always been drawn to interiors of
historic residences. Determining original paint colors, wallpaper designs, carpet
patterns and colors current during the 1890’s was a long process of discovery and
collaboration with artisans. The outcome of research offers a unique picture into
the visual preferences of the time.
The different designs and colors of carpets in each room complemented one another
as seen in this photograph (photo at right).
Glen, formerly in marketing, followed his interest in plant biology and conservation
to the Frances Willard House as volunteer gardener in 2010. That led to several
promotions over the years, to Executive Director for the Center. He is officially
retired from that position.
Glen described his experiences working with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, keeping a focus on Frances Willard’s many contributions to the well-being and advancement of women, and preserving the home as a valuable historical site. Despite the importance of the historical references, and amazing restoration of the home, land the home sits on in Evanston appears to have more appeal for some local interests.
We are so grateful for Janet and Glen’s commitment to the preservation of Frances Willard House, to her memory and lifetime achievements, and for providing a fascinating evening for CACG members.
Following the presentations, Janet and Glen led a tour throughout the home, ending in artifact storage and the exhibition of archival materials. The photograph of Frances Willard in her office (photo below) gives us a view into the character of Frances, and her love of the things around her. The portrait of Frances and her sister in matching dresses is a work of art (see photo at left). Unlike so many historic homes, original artifacts, furniture, and archives were all preserved and remained on site.
Written and edited by Carol Turchan. Slideshow photos by Maria Paras