Newswise — Cell phones, banned in most museums, are a new medium to extend the history experience at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The museum is the first in Chicago to offer audio tours by phone, said Lisa Lee, museum director.

Museum visitors and others can call (703) 637-9317, enter a number posted on an exhibit or on the museum's website at, and hear a changing roster of social activists and humanities scholars on topics relating to the exhibits and Hull-House's mission of social justice. The user can stop the audio clip and enter a new number at any time.

Unlike traditional audio tours by headphone and player, these commentaries can be accessed any time and anywhere, not just inside the museum. The user pays no fee beyond their phone service provider's regular charge per call.

"It's a way to give contemporary relevance to the work of Jane Addams and the others of Hull-House, and to hear visionaries in the museum whom one might not associate with Hull-House," Lee said.

The service, called "Hull-House History on Call," will offer about 12 selections at a time. The first selections include:

-Bill Ayers, distinguished professor of education at UIC and 1960s antiwar activist, on "why Jane Addams was so dangerous," as evidenced by her FBI file at the museum

-Nobel Peace Prize nominee Helen Caldicott on science, social change and the work of occupational safety pioneer Alice Hamilton, whose photo and biography are on exhibit

-Author Studs Terkel and Little Italy resident Florence Scala on the replacement of Hull-House settlement buildings with UIC's Circle Campus during the 1960s, as seen in a photo exhibit

-Bernardine Dohrn, professor of law at Northwestern University and 1960s antiwar activist, on the nation's first juvenile justice court, which stood across the street from Hull-House

-Author Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College, on multiculturalism vs. polyculturalism and the changing nature of ethnicity, referring to Hull-House maps and papers

"Hull-House History on Call" is funded by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, which also will support new and upgraded exhibits.

UIC ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago's largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. For more information about UIC, please visit

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