NPS Centennial Celebrated with Traveling Quilt Exhibit

March 1, 2016, 11:44 AM HST
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Dorothy Heidemann-Nelson's abstract art quilt inspired by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS photo.

Dorothy Heidemann-Nelson’s abstract art quilt inspired by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS photo.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park will soon be covered in a colorful display of 13 art quilts in honor of the National Park Services centennial anniversary.

Beginning Friday, March 4, the Volcano House’s Great Room, located just off the lobby, will be decorated with the quilts.

Members of the community are invited to view the quilts at any time before the exhibits close on Easter day, March 27.

Fiber Works, a textile group from Nebraska’s Lincoln-Omaha area, created the quilts drawing inspiration from the centennial of the National Park Service. Thirteen national parks were selected, including HVNP, as inspiration for the traveling collection.

Before their travel to Hawai’i, the quilts were on display at Saguaro National Park in Arizona.


Dorothy Heidemann Nelson quilter
Dorothy Heidemann-Nelson, a retired chemist and lifelong quilter, created the vibrant quilt that represents Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, incorporating traditional Hawaiian kapa (bark cloth) created by kapa maker Joni Mae Makuakāne-Jarrell, who also serves as the park’s Chief of Interpretation.


Heidemann-Nelson used the gift of kapa to represent the volcanic birth of Hawai‘i and the culture of the islands. The lava on the left side of the quilt is a tough construction-industry material called Tyvek that she painted with acrylic art paint then heat shrunk. The fern fronds depicted on the right side represent new life.

One the traveling exhibit is over in December, HVNP will receive the quilt as a gift.

“I love doing both science and art, so you can see why choosing to do something for Hawai‘i worked out to be a great fit for me,” said Heidemann-Nelson. “I chose it because I thought it would be easy and colorful to make a quilt with a volcano on it, but the completed quilt evolved because of what I learned about the park and Hawaiian volcanoes.”


After being displayed at HVNP, the quilts will travel to New York, where they will be displayed at the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

HVNP is also celebrating its centennial this year.

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