THE MUSEUM is housed in a grand Beaux-Arts bank building originally owned by the Lancaster Trust Company, a once prosperous community bank that failed during the Great Depression. Constructed in 1912 and closed in 1932, this building stood empty for much of its life. In 1982, Lancaster developer Owen Kugel restored the building to its original beauty. Notable for the Beaux-Arts style main banking room with its 64-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling and molded stone wall panels. The stunning architecture of this 1912 Beaux Arts Bank is accented by exhibitions in the building’s textile gallery, featuring the rich and diverse textile traditions of Lancaster County and south-central Pennsylvania.
Our museum celebrates the very fabric that surrounds all of our lives through the use of exciting and innovative exhibitions and programs that reflect the role of textiles from the past, present, and future. At the heart of the Quilt & Textile Museum’s permanent exhibition is what many scholars consider to be the finest collection of authentic late 19th-20th century Amish Quilts indigenous to this region. Formerly known as the “Esprit Collection”, it was the brainchild of Doug Tompkins, a founder of the Esprit Corporation, who began collecting the quilts during the 1970s. The Heritage Center acquired this collection in 2002. The combination of the Esprit Collection with the Heritage Center’s own quilt and textile collection results in one of the largest collections of its kind anywhere to be presented in context with the stories of south-central Pennsylvanians.