A group of local citizens has been working on a project to add a third museum to Winterset. In addition to the Madison County Historical Museum overlooking town, and the John Wayne Birthplace Museum a stone’s throw from the town square set to open May 23, 2015, the Iowa Quilt Museum will be located right on the square, in the former JC Penney building on the south side.
A logo has been designed, an option on the building has been accepted, a non-profit board of directors is being formed, and fundraising is about to begin. The Iowa Quilt Museum is planned as a “display” rather than a “collecting” museum, with three to four exhibits to be offered per year. Plans are to raise $350,000 to $400,000 through local contributions, grants, and funds from outside Madison County. The money will be used to purchase the building, pay for alterations to the interior such as a proper climate control system, and finance start-up operations. Intentions are to employ one paid half- time director as well as several paid, part-time docents.
Culturally, the museum will promote the understanding of quilting history in America, as well as the appreciation of quilt styles specific to the Midwest. The museum will give tourists an additional reason to visit Winterset and Madison County, and will offer local quilters and quilt enthusiasts opportunities to learn more about quilts—considered by many historians America’s premier folk art genre.
Individuals currently working on the project are Pat Corkrean, Marianne Fons, Tony Jacobson, Phyllis Kaldenberg, Terri Kuhns, Jodi Lake, Jerry Parkin, and Amy Sawyers. It is hoped the Iowa Quilt Museum will be open by the end of 2015.