The origin of The Quilters Hall of Fame and how they moved into their historic home is a story of unlikely pieces stitched together that unfolded in Marion, Indiana.
The Quilters Hall of Fame Mission
Located in Marion, Indiana, The Quilters Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization that celebrates the art of quilting. Founded in 1979 by Hazel Carter in Vienna, Virginia, TQHF documents the lives of those who have made outstanding contributions. Those honored have influenced quilting through exhibitions, education, publications, research, collections and documentation. The organization is international in scope, encompassing the United States and the United Kingdom.
How the Quilters Hall of Fame was established
The Quilters Hall of Fame evolved from Hazel Carter’s study of quilting, starting with techniques she learned from her mother and grandmother. TGHF originated as a guild following a quilting bee in Virginia in 1972. Later in 1979, at the second Continental Quilting Congress convention in Arlington, Virginia, Carter initiated the formation of The Quilters Hall of Fame. It was during that year, that six individuals were inducted to recognize their accomplishments and place in quilting history.
The Marie Webster House in Marion, Indiana
In 1991, The Quilters Hall of Fame found a home. Rosalind Webster Perry, granddaughter of Marie D. Webster, attended her grandmother’s induction. It was then that Perry offered her grandmother’s house in Marion, Indiana to Hazel Carter as The Quilters Hall of Fame home. Carter enthusiastically accepted, knowing that the century-old home would need a complete renovation. After raising money through the formation of a fundraising guild, the renovations project took twelve years. The grand opening was in July 2004.
Built in 1902, Marie and George Webster moved into the newly completed house, considered to be “a modern and handsome structure that will add greatly to the beauty of the part of Washington Street, which now has a number of beautiful homes,” according to a local paper. The home eventually fell into disrepair selling at a low price to TQHF, saving it from demolition. At that time, weeds stood six feet tall and vines had invaded the rotting front porch, nearly causing it to collapse.
The first step during the renovation process was to protect the house and preserve its history. In April, 1992 the house was entered in the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures. Later that year, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Then the National Park Service selected the Marie Webster House as a Landmark of Women’s History, officially declaring it a National Historic Landmark.
The first repair was to replace the leaking roof that was damaging the interior, and restore the outside to its former glory. The exterior was painted the original color of yellow with cream trim. Much of the interior woodwork was removed, restored and reinstalled. New beams were necessary to support the house to make it structurally sound. Of course, new plumbing, HVAC and wiring were part of the project, making it ready to receive visitors in 2004.
To learn more about the Marie Webster House and renovations, click here.
Annual Quilters Hall of Fame Celebration
Each year during the third week of July, new honorees are inducted into the hall of fame. During this celebration in Marion, there are lectures, quilt shows, gallery walks, a vendor mall and auction. These events take place throughout the town.
Visiting the Quilters Hall of Fame
Located at 926 South Washington Street in Marion, Indiana, the museum displays four exhibitions per year and welcomes over 1,300 visitors annually. Admission cost is $4.00, discounted to $3.00 for seniors and students. Children accompanied by an adult are admitted free. For hours and more information, click here. This 360 virtual tour will give you an idea on what you will experience during your visit.
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