Margaret Wister Meigs, Preservation Advocate: The Untold Story Public

Margaret Wister Meigs is credited for transforming the Fort Hunter Mansion into a historic house museum. The story of Meigs’s involvement with the mansion is a simple one; as a child, she would often go to the mansion to visit with her aunt, Helen Reily. After Reily died, Meigs made it her mission to preserve and care for the mansion. She felt that the only way to keep the memory of her aunt alive was to turn the mansion into a historical house museum. Meigs worked tirelessly to turn this vision into a reality. First, she developed methods of advertising such as: painting advertisements on the side of the Centennial Barn and Mansion, creating brochures, and newspaper ads. The Friends of Fort Hunter was created in order to fund the constant maintenance of the mansion and is still in existence today. Needless to say, Meigs set up the Fort Hunter Mansion for success and was a pioneer of her time. Margaret will be compared to other women around the same time period that turned houses into historical house museums. This thesis analyzes both Meigs’s life and her involvement with the Fort Hunter Mansion. In relation to the personal life of Margaret, I will focus on the time frame of 1900 to 1910. This time frame depicts Meigs’s personality prior and post marriage. For the Fort Hunter Mansion, focus will be placed on a 1933 to 1958-time frame. Meigs acquired the mansion in 1933 and passed away in 1958.

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