SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — The National Women’s Hall of Fame is nestled quietly between a Mexican Grill and a yarn store on Fall Street in Seneca Falls, New York.
The Hall is now 50 years old, and on their 50th anniversary, comes a gift. A new location, and a new bit of women’s history to go along with it.
In 2007, the Hall purchased a building they call, The Mill. Built in 1844, the four story space provides a massive upgrade in square footage, as well as a stronger tie to women’s history.
“The historical significance of this building for the hall is that two of the original trustees, Jacob Chamberlain and Charles Hoskins were two of the thirty-two men who signed the Declaration of Rights for Women in 1848” Betty Bayer, President of the Board of Directors, said.
With that history comes challenges for the construction team. Leaning beams, chipping paint, and inconsistently shaped windows, are all obstacles the team has tackled since purchasing the building in 2007.
But those challenges are nothing to Senior Project Manager Wayne Hermanson, who’s heart feels the importance of the Hall. Wayne joined the project through his wife, a member of the Board of Directors.
“For me, I grew up with three sisters. I have three daughters, so women’s issues are important,” said Hermanson.
Many others see the value too. Last week, the Hall received a grant from the Vote Your Main Street contest of up to $150,000. The National Women’s Hall of Fame is a registered 501(c)(3), therefore, grants like this one provide the majority of funding for the Hall.
“This project, as of the end of 2018, will take us over the 8 million dollar mark,” said Betty Bayer.
The support for the Hall runs deep through people who believe in their message, as well as through inductees who keep in touch with the Hall.
The Hall’s mission is “Showcasing Great Women, Inspiring All.”
Rebecca Petropoulos joined the Women’s Hall of Fame staff in recent months, and emphasized the importance of women’s history.
“It’s a really important thing to record women’s history. I still see that women’s history isn’t making it into the textbooks,” Petropoulos said.
With a new, bigger space, Petropoulos noted, the Hall will be able to engage in more programming and educate visitors on women’s history on a larger scale.
The Hall plans to move into their new space in Spring 2019.