Threads of Remembrance : National Mall Displays

The first display of the full Quilt was on October 11, 1987, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. At the time, the Quilt consisted of 1,920 panels and covered a space larger than a football field. With the overwhelming response to this display, the Quilt toured to 20 cities across the country, in 1988, to educate the population about HIV/AIDS and to raise funds for service organizations. During this four-month tour, over 6,000 panels were added to the Quilt.

The Quilt has only been displayed in its entirety on five separate occasions, each time taking up more space at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Quilt, currently the largest community art project in the world, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and in 2005 the Quilt received the “Save America’s Treasures” Federal Grant, officially marking it as an invaluable artifact that helps to tell the American story.