Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog

10.13.2006

War on Drugs Exhibition Starts Free Speech Battle

By Shawn Healy
An October 5th article in the Chicago Tribune details the evolving free speech controversy unfolding on the grounds of the Museum of Science and Industry. Pete Guither's attempt to distribute literature contesting the content of an exhibit sponsored by the U.S. DEA was first moved outside the museum doors, then to a more remote location with little pedestrian traffic, and ultimately forbidden on the grounds of unpermitted commercial speech. The latter charge borders on the ridiculous, and our museum has decided to elicit visitor feedback on this issue in our exhibit and on Fanning the Flames. Please read the article referenced above, and respond to the following questions:

Please share your thoughts with us regarding Mr. Guither's free speech rights on the public grounds of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Should he be able to hand out pamphlets inside the exhibit, outside the museum's doors, in a location with less pedestrian traffic, or not at all? How does the First Amendment guide your reasoning?

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SHAWN HEALY

Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project


Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.



Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.


First Amendment journalism initiative


The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at