A New Porch For Our Old House:
The 2016 Rocking Chair Campaign

August 24th - October 24th

The Warren-Sipe House, home of the Virginia Quilt Museum, needs a new front porch. Our current porch is failing, and experts tell us that before long, it will not be safe for use. To keep our doors open and our museum safe for our visitors, we therefore will be building a new porch this winter. But first, we need to raise $20,000 to pay for the reconstruction. Contributors may donate now through October 24th to help us reach our goal!

Donors will have the satisfaction of seeing their generosity at work when the Museum reopens next February. We will begin the 2017 season with a beautiful, brand-new porch, furnished with (you guessed it!) rocking chairs featuring the names of our loyal donors!
*Read on to learn how you can receive your own rocker and other donor gifts!*

Read on for all the details!

Donate Today!

*Remember to review the list of available Donor Thank You Gifts at the bottom of this page before choosing your giving level.
If you do not wish to receive a Donor Gift, please expand the text box during your PayPal checkout and write "no donor gift".


This year marks the 160th birthday of the historic Warren-Sipe House. Built in 1856, the then red-brick home was owned by Edward T. Harrison Warren, a direct descendant of Thomas Harrison, founding father of Harrisonburg. Warren, a prominent local lawyer, built the home as a wedding present for his bride, Virginia MacGruder.

Just five years after building his dream home, Edward Warren left Harrisonburg to serve in the Civil War with the 10th Virginia, ultimately dying at the Battle of The Wilderness in May of 1864. 

Through the years, the house has served several functions, perhaps most famously, as a temporary Civil War Clinic following the Battle of Gettysburg. It was during this time that Stonewall Jackson’s “Boy Major”, Joseph Latimer, died here from gangrene after the amputation of his arm.

George Sipe took ownership of the house in the 1890s, and added a number of the house’s present ­day features. Perhaps most prominent are the gorgeous parquet floors and engraved cherry mantle places in our main level galleries. 

The Warren-Sipe House as it appeared in the 1880s. Notice that at that time, the porch was only a stoop, the brick had not yet been painted white, and the roof was still flat. 

During the mid-20th Century, the house transitioned from a private residence to a municipal building, serving a number of functions for the City of Harrisonburg. In the 1950s and 1960s the building housed the Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Department. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was home to the Rockingham County Historical Society. The city even used the house to hold court during the early 1990s when the city courthouse was being renovated. A holding cell still remains in the Museum as a testament to this use.

In 1995, the city handed the keys over to the Virginia Quilt Museum, Virginia's Official State Quilt Museum. In 2015, the Museum proudly celebrated 20 years of "celebrating and nurturing Virginia's quilting heritage."

The future of this lovely and historic home is bright, but it needs your help! 

The house as it appears today.

about the rocking chair campaign

The Situation:
Here at the Virginia Quilt Museum, we love our artifacts! From priceless heirloom quilts to unique antique sewing machines, our Museum is proud to preserve and interpret each of these precious items.

However, our largest and one of our oldest artifacts is not in our collection at all! It is our much-loved 1856 Warren-Sipe House, and this year it needs a new porch for its 160th birthday present!

Due to aging foundation piers that have pulled away from the porch over time, the porch is failing. The north end of the porch is no longer stable, and deteriorating decking has buckled and become a trip hazard. After extensive research and consultations with a historic preservation firm, a structural engineer, and a historic architect, it has therefore been determined that the porch needs to be completely replaced, and the sooner the better.

The Solution:

The porch reconstruction will be carried out by Lantz Construction, a well-respected local construction company founded in 1960. In close discussion with the Museum's Facilities Committee and with endorsement of the VQM's Board of Directors, Lantz Construction's proposal allows the Museum to keep the porch's appearance as period-appropriate as possible while also creating a porch that will last well into the future and require minimal maintenance. 

In the interest of allowing time to raise the necessary funds AND keeping in mind a desire to avoid additional closures of the Museum, the porch rebuild is scheduled for the Museum's 2016-17 Winter Closure in December and January.

Our Fundraising Goal:

With the plan for the porch rebuild in place, all we now need is to raise the funds! It is a tall order, but it is one we know we can fill WITH YOUR HELP! 

With a construction GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) of $26,000, the Museum needs to raise $20,000 to fund this project. To put this figure in perspective, $20,000 is 10% of our annual budget! It is a lofty goal for our small museum, but it is an attainable one. We can do this! 

How to Contribute:

Give between August 24th and October 24th to contribute to this important campaign!

Donors may donate online using the PayPal button at the top of this section or print and complete this donor form and remit with donation to:

the Virginia Quilt Museum
301 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

*Any funds received in excess of our $20,000 goal will be restricted for future facilities and building use. 

Donor Gifts:

As a thank you to our donors, we are offering three unique thank you gifts, developed especially for this campaign! 

  • $150: Original Brick from the Warren-Sipe House

Use this authentic Warren-Sipe House brick, reclaimed from the building's recently removed chimney, as a door stop, book end, or just as a unique piece of history on your mantle!  The brick will feature a placard to verify its origins and commemorate your gift.                                                       

  • $500: Glass Etching featuring Depiction of the Warren-Sipe House

Made locally at Dayton's Braithewaite Studios, this handcrafted 6"x 9" glass etching will feature an original image of the Warren-Sipe House. Hang the etching from a window or display it in a plate stand as a one-of-a-kind collectible.

  • $1000: Your own Rocking Chair featuring VQM logo PLUS your name on the back of one of the rocking chairs adorning our brand new porch

What would a front porch be without a rocking chair? For a $1,000 gift, you will receive your own wooden rocker featuring a rear placard with the VQM logo and the text "2016 Rocking Chair Campaign".

PLUS, your name will be etched on the back of one of the rocking chairs that will furnish our brand new porch!