Portrait of Mrs. Laura Bush
Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary National Chair

Our Campaign for the Future

Restoring Cather's Treasured Places & Sustaining Our Work

It has been 3+ years since we announced our Campaign for the Future, and we're grateful to 630+ supporters who've helped us raise over $8 million. We've added preservation and education staff, grown our endowment, and restored four historic sites.

Now we turn our attention to restoration of the Willa Cather Childhood Home, the rehabilitation of the Potter Block to establish Hotel Garber in downtown Red Cloud, collections conservation needs, and the addition of new exhibits for the Farmers & Merchants Bank, Burlington Depot, and Pavelka Farmstead. There's still time to support the campaign, and we appreciate your gifts!

Donate to the Campaign for the Future


Exterior rendering of Hotel Garber

Preserve the Potter Block

New Life as Hotel Garber

Imagine, a 27-room boutique hotel in downtown Red Cloud. Hotel Garber will be just that, and more! The Potter Block restoration will restore a 1901 structure and provide much-needed lodging for tourists and expanded meeting facilities for events and retreats. It will allow our visitors to the National Willa Cather Center to stay longer to enjoy the museum and all that Cather loved about Webster County.

Fundraising has reached 87% of the goal and you can help bring the fundraising effort to completion by making a charitable gift. Naming and recognition opportunities are available, and all gifts of $1,000 or more will be recognized on a donor wall.

Exterior of the Willa Cather Childhood Home, surrounded by a picket fence

Restore the Willa Cather Childhood Home

A National Historic Landmark

We took ownership of the Willa Cather Childhood Home from History Nebraska in 2019 and are committed to preserving and interpreting the landmark site, including the delicate original wallpaper Cather selected for her attic bedroom. This restoration will ensure the 140+-year-old home is preserved as a cultural attraction for the learning and enjoyment of future generations. Projected to reopen in December 2023, the restored home will create a more immersive destination to discover family artifacts and encounter the lived world of the Cather family.

Thanks to the generosity of our supports, this project is now fully funded. We welcome contributions for ongoing preservation of the home.

Rendering of a corner of the new Farmers & Merchants Bank about the Garbers as Protoypes for A Lost Lady

Making A Place: A Long History of Red Cloud

A New Permanent Exhibit for the Farmers & Merchants Bank

Opening in December 2023, Making a Place: A Long History of Red Cloud will invite visitors to explore Willa Cather's connections to Red Cloud through subjects that are both present and absent in her fiction. Topics include the Red Cloud region as home to the Pawnee tribe; the lives of Silas and Lyra Garber—in life and as portrayed as Captain and Mrs. Forrester in A Lost Lady; town-making and homesteading; banking and the Panic of 1893; and early preservation efforts led by the National Willa Cather Center's founder, Mildred Bennett.

Design, fabrication, and installation of the exhibit panels and casework at the Farmers & Merchants Bank will cost approximately $250,000. All gifts of $500 or more will be recognized; however, credit panel acknowledgements needed to be finalized by 9/30/23.