Cather 150 Campaign: Advancing Her Legacy and Enriching Lives
This campaign has ended, but your gifts can still make a difference and help us advance Cather's legacy.
Willa Cather is one of my favorite authors and a treasured American voice. Her writing explores complicated historical moments through exceptional portrayals of enduring characters—soldiers, settlers, artists, and immigrants. Your gift to the Cather 150 initiative will help the National Willa Cather Center provide classroom resources for teachers, preserve historic sites associated with Cather's life and work, conserve the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, care for priceless collections, and allow a living memorial to operate for the benefit of generations to come.
-Ken Burns, Documentarian
For more than a century, Willa Cather’s writing has transported readers to places they could only imagine—from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to the Western Front in France. Our work at the National Willa Cather Center does the same—it brings literature and history to life for thousands of people each year. We preserve the places that inspired her novels, share the stories of the people who influenced her well-known characters, and support the next generation of artists.
Cather secured her place in literary history when she won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours in 1923, and her likeness is newly immortalized in bronze in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the U.S. Capitol. Cather is in the national spotlight, and our work to advance her legacy reaches more than 70,000 people annually. To commemorate her 150th birthday, we organized a yearlong celebration with events from California to New Hampshire, and many places in between.
Support from donors across the nation has helped to expand our arts and educational programming; curate new exhibits; care for priceless collections; and complete restoration work on four buildings that are part of the largest collection of historic sites devoted to an American author. Restoration is also underway at the Willa Cather Childhood Home, a National Historic Landmark, which Cather memorialized in The Song of the Lark.
To continue these efforts and further advance Cather’s legacy for the benefit of future generations, we must also expand our annual budget. Will you help us meet a challenge to raise an additional $150,000 to continue the commemoration of Cather beyond her sesquicentennial year? We can think of no greater birthday gift for a writer whose stories reach well beyond Nebraska, and into the depths of the human heart.
Your Gifts at Work at the National Willa Cather Center!
Historic Site Preservation
Devoted readers can immerse themselves in settings from Cather's writing. Four historic sites have been fully restored, work on the Willa Cather Childhood Home is nearly complete, and a fund to preserve Cather's birthplace in Virginia has been established.
Virtual and In-Person Experiences
More than 70,000 people experienced a live performance at the Red Cloud Opera House, visited exhibits by regional and national artists, joined a virtual author series lecture, hiked the prairie, or engaged with Cather through a conference or seminar.
Growing Museum Collection and Archive
In the last four years, more than 8,000 pieces have been accessioned into our growing collection. Visitors to the museum can view objects on rotational display, and many photographs and objects are now showcased online.
Resources for Students and Educators
Field trip programs have served more than 300 students and offered hands-on engagement with history through site tours and object lessons. A new teacher institute offers educators four days of immersive study and sparks creation of new classroom resources.