To increase Mortenson’s engagement within the Chicago community, and to provide an educational opportunity for our team members and their families to learn more about art, history, and diverse cultures in Chicago, Mortenson leaders initiated a partnership with the The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. Located in Hyde Park adjacent to the University of Chicago, The DuSable Museum has been a staple in the heart of Chicago for over 60 years and is the nation’s first independent museum of black history holding over 15,000 pieces.
To foster and actively grow our relationship, Mortenson and the DuSable Museum were inspired to create a “Day at the DuSable” event in the Spring of 2019 that encouraged our team members and their families to visit the museum and engage in learning about black history in Chicago and across the U.S. Each year this event has provided unique experiences for team members who have never considered
visiting the museum helping form better bonds between Mortenson and the museum. Coinciding with the onsite events, Mortenson involves local restaurants or food trucks in Hyde Park to cater for attendees to further support the surrounding community.
In addition to our first “Day at the DuSable” event in 2019, subsequent events included the following:
- Toward the end of 2020, in light of the pandemic, Dr. Kim Dulaney, the museum’s director of education and programs, hosted an online interactive presentation for our team members and their families. She shared insights and a virtual walk-through of various parts of the museum while going into depth to educate the audience on seven historical periods of African American History including the impacts of slavery, the African American Migration, and the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.
- In early 2022, we experienced the immersive exhibit of one of the most significant moments in American history, the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Using virtual reality and other immersive technologies, everyone was able to relive the historic events. Afterwards, team members and families were invited to explore the rest of the museum. Learn more about the TIME Magazine production and digital exhibit of “The March”: https://time.com/the-march/
- Earlier this year, Mortenson connected filmmaker Jason Green with the DuSable Museum to collaborate on sharing his documentary “Finding Fellowship”. A screening was held at the museum for team members and their families with Jason in attendance. The film tells the story of how three racially segregated churches in rural Maryland rose above their divisions to merge and form one congregation. Being able to interact with Jason allowed attendees to hear more details of the story and insights about producing the film. Learn more about the “Finding Fellowship” documentary: https://findingfellowship.film/about-the-film/
While adults and teens were encouraged to participate in the documentary viewing and discussion, there was also an activity geared towards younger attendees! Kids were able to watch a short film about Alma Thomas, a famous black painter whose work has been displayed at the White House. They were then able to emulate Thomas’s paintings by painting their own works of art! Kids were encouraged to freely create works that played on Thomas’s philosophy of accidental beauty and abstraction of color. Learn more about Alma Thomas: https://americanart.si.edu/artist/alma-thomas-4778
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Mortenson,” said Perri Irmer, The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center President and CEO. “It is our mission to further advance the education of the history and culture of Africans and African Americans, and each year I’m elated to see Mortenson’s team members and their families taking advantage of this unique opportunity right here in Chicago.”
Learn more about The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center: https://www.dusablemuseum.org