Location: Iron Cunty Historical Museum; Hurley Wisconsin
Rolled fabric awaits in a vault of the former County Clerk’s Office until it can be cut and woven into rugs or placemats. From blue jeans to wool blankets to polyester pansuits, tons of fabric are donated to the Museum each year. The sale of the rugs and place mats provide the financial foundation for the museum. Rugs have been commissioned and shipped as far away as Japan, and grace the floors of the home of a former Wisconsin Governor. The Museum has 4 looms in the weaving room (the old Clerk’s Office), which is staffed by volunteers who donate over 500 hours a year. Many of the weavers have become local celebrities through television and print interviews. Rag rug weaving was brought to Iron County by Finnish immigrants; it has the highest percentage of Finns than any other Wisconsin county.
The Museum is located in the historic Iron County Courthouse, built in 1893 as the town hall for the Town of Vaughn. The Iron County Historical Society saved the Court House from the wrecking ball. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.