01 Jan Junior League of Lincoln History
The Junior League of Lincoln is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action of trained volunteers. Our purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
The Junior League of Lincoln (JLL) has been in Lincoln since 1921. Initially, members volunteered 100 hours per year. The first fundraiser was a rummage sale, earning JLL $880.84. In 1929, the League sponsored a charity horse show where members performed on horseback to a musical drill. The League earned $2,000 – that’s worth more than $27,000 today! The Scribbler, the JLL newsletter, began in 1930 and it continues today. Today, Junior League of Lincoln members contribute at least 20 volunteer hours each and assist in raising funds for community organizations in Lincoln.
Significant projects in Lincoln for the Junior League include:
- Building the ClothesLine project to place a clothing closet in all Lincoln Public Schools. The ClothesLine project aims to help reduce bullying in our schools, address the basic need of clothing and provide youth the opportunity for success.
- Remodeling the Women’s Center at The Bridge at Cornhusker Place
- During the 1993-94 year we developed programs and educational tours of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo for school-aged children.
- Guiding Historical Society Tours
- Developing and offering curricula in drug education, environmental concerns, Nebraska history, and life skills
- Volunteer planting at the Sunken Gardens
- Generating and donating funding for the Child Guidance Center, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, and the Lincoln Children’s Museum
- Donating to fund the second home for Friendship Home in Lincoln
- Donating the Redbud and Washington Hawthorne trees along Capitol Parkway
- Assisting the restoration of the William Jennings Bryan home in the 1960s
- In January 1993, Junior League of Lincoln volunteers sorted through works of art submitted for the Nebraska Scholastic Art competition.
The Junior League has continued to train leaders in our community. The Junior League of Lincoln provides training and development opportunities for its members to improve their leadership and community engagement. The Town Hall Lecture Series started in the 1930s and ran for fifteen years; this program aimed to bring outstanding speakers to the community.
JLL started and staffed solely with JLL members for about a decade, the Docent program at the Sheldon. We are still supporting this today by sponsoring JLL members to become Docents. The Sheldon Docent Program began in 1964 by the Junior League of Lincoln. Seventeen JLL volunteers were the very first docents. The Docent Program was staffed exclusively by JLL volunteers until 1975, when community members were invited to volunteer.
The Sheldon Docent Program represents the JLL’s longest-running community volunteer project. The program provides educational tours of the Sheldon’s art collection for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students in Lincoln Public Schools. The students are bussed to the museum and trained docent volunteers provide inquiry-based tours that integrate the tour with many of the required capacities outlined in Nebraska’s Core Teaching Standards, significantly enhancing visual arts education for students in Lincoln.
Tours are given of the permanent collection galleries, temporary exhibitions, and outdoor sculpture garden. The partnership with Lincoln Public Schools makes this an exceptional—and unusual when compared to sister museums across the country—education program. Many museums give tours but few have the integration with public schools curriculum like the Sheldon’s program. That integration is a credit to the foresight of the women who developed the project: Junior League of Lincoln members.
Information provided by a representative of Junior League of Lincoln in May 2014