What type of research went into the Unvarnished online exhibit and its teacher resources?

From 2016 to 2022, a team of public historians, scholars, academic advisors, subject-matter experts, museum practitioners, and educators were dedicated to researching and developing Unvarnished and its teacher resources. In addition to providing the national context, the project’s consortium did extensive research into their own community’s legacies of segregation and housing discrimination. Following best practices, a team of nationally recognized scholars peer-reviewed the exhibit content. 

The project also had an extensive audience research component. Nearly 15,000 teachers, museum professionals, museum-goers, and the general public participated in the research component of the exhibit and curriculum development.  Fifty museums participated in the audience research, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Historic New England, History Nebraska, National Civil Rights Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. 


Dennis Cremin, Ph.D., Lewis University, Romeoville, IL 

Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Ph.D., Creative Strategies 360°, Santa Fe, NM

Gretchen Sorin, Ph.D., Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta, Cooperstown, NY

Thomas J. Sugrue, Ph.D., New York University, New York City, NY

Noelle Trent, Ph.D., National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN 


Charmaine Jefferson, J.D. Kélan Resources Los Angeles, CA


Susie Wilkening, Wilkening Consulting, Seattle, WA  


William Adair, Museum Education Consultant, Philadelphia, PA 

Melanie Adams, Ph.D., Consultant, Washington, D.C. 

Dina Bailey, Consultant, Mountain Top Vision, Atlanta, GA 

Sarah E. Doherty, Ph.D., Historian, North Park University, Chicago, IL 

International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, New York City, NY 

Paige Glotzer, Ph.D., Historian, University of Wisconsin, WI

James W. Loewen, Ph.D., Sociologist, Washington, D.C. (1942-2021) 

Michelle Moon, Saltworks Interpretive Services, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 


Night Kitchen Interactive 

Show All Answers

1. What is Unvarnished? What topics does the online exhibit cover?
2. What communities are featured in the exhibit and why were these communities selected?
3. How was the online exhibit funded?
4. What type of research went into the Unvarnished online exhibit and its teacher resources?
5. How can teachers incorporate Unvarnished into their history lessons?
6. Was Naperville’s history of exclusion unique to this region?
7. Why is the Naperville Heritage Society sharing this history?