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$500,000 in federal funds helps the National Women's Hall of Fame continue restoration efforts

The historic Seneca Knitting Mill in Seneca Falls, which is the home of the National Women's Hall of Fame museum.
Marsha Hayles (2021 photo)
National Women's Hall of Fame
The historic Seneca Knitting Mill in Seneca Falls, which is the home of the National Women's Hall of Fame museum. A recent $500,000 federal appropriation will help with the ongoing renovation efforts at the building.


The National Women’s Hall of Fame has received $500,000 in federal funding to continue renovations at its historic building in Seneca Falls.

That money is earmarked for the ongoing restoration efforts at the former Seneca Knitting Mill, the location that the Women’s Hall of Fame moved into several years ago.

It is a work in progress, with millions of dollars already spent to convert that mid-19th century building into a museum, to bring attention to prominent women and inductees to the Hall.

New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand pushed for the most recent federal funding. Planning for that phase of construction will begin later this year.

Jennifer Gabriel is the CEO of the organization, and she said the exhibits at the knitting mill are not meant to duplicate the efforts already undertaken by other women's rights organizations and museums in the Finger Lakes.

“What we want to do is highlight the inductees who we honor and use their stories as a way to provide context into the women's rights movement and talk about how far we've come, how far we still have to go, how can we continue to tell their story?” said Gabriel.

Gabriel said the latest funding will help finish work on the third and fourth floors of the four-story building. A lot of the work on the lower floors has already been completed.

The Women’s Hall held its annual induction ceremony earlier this month. This year, it was held in New York City as part of an effort to raise the national profile of the Hall and hopefully result in more financial support as well.

Gabriel said that organizers feel the event was a success since they had about 450 attendees, many of whom were not familiar with the Hall or with Seneca Falls.

“We're already in conversations with a lot of them about coming this summer, we got this special Smithsonian exhibit that's going to be open on the second floor (and) maybe doing some more of those types of ongoing engagement activities throughout the year, not only within our region, but also nationally,” Gabriel said.

The Smithsonian traveling exhibit is called “Voices and Votes,” and it will be open at the Hall from July 12-August 23 of this year.

Gabriel said it’s not been decided where the National Women’s Hall of Fame will hold next year’s induction ceremonies.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.