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Why do you live where you live? Who are your neighbors? Who aren’t your neighbors?

How do six cultural organizations across the country explore the history of housing discrimination in the Northern and Western United States? Together with Night Kitchen Interactive, this was the question Naper Settlement ventured to answer.

An overview of the website, including clips from videos and visuals of archival images and documents featured on the site.

Collaborating closely with the cohort, Night Kitchen produced Unvarnished: Housing Discrimination in the Northern and Western United States. Spanning 22 articles and hundreds of archival sources, Unvarnished acts as an educational resource for students and the general public to look deeper into the history of residential discrimination in the United States. Night Kitchen and Naper Settlement produced over 40 video segments, including in-depth explainers and oral histories across the regions. This project won the AASLH Award of Excellence, the organization's highest honor.

The Unvarnished video host leads visitors on a journey through complex government policy, legal cases, and source documents. Custom motion graphics and riveting archival footage are woven through each segment, bringing every facet of this story to life.

Central to this project was a mission to create comprehensive curriculum materials for classroom use. Within a dedicated For Educators section, Unvarnished offers four distinct learning modules that guide educators and learners to enriched conversations about housing discrimination in the United States.

Emerging as one of the most comprehensive resources on the topic, this online exhibition dives deep into the stories of exclusionary housing practices from the 1890s to today. From California to Connecticut, Unvarnished encourages visitors to reflect upon and expand their own understandings of home in pursuit of a more equitable future.


I am blown away by all of this! The amount of work, time, effort, and knowledge that it took to put together such an incredible, detailed, specific, history-rich, ready to use, organized and captivating curriculum such as Unvarnished is NOT lost on me as an educator. I am so impressed by this end result and SO very excited for you all as you begin to launch this. I will proudly support, recommend and utilize this content.

Jamie Christopher, Teacher

I am honestly so impressed with the scope of the articles. If this were a bound book, I would buy it, because it succinctly covers an immensely expansive topic. It was so well-crafted and all of the strings were woven together so seamlessly. I want students to feel the same way after coming away from these texts!

Jessica Walsh, Teacher


  • AASLH Award of ExcellenceLeadership in History Awards, 2023