The AIDS Memorial Quilt, composed of more than 47,000 panels, turns 25 years old Wednesday, June 27, USA Today reports. It was first displayed on this day in 1987 when a group of grieving friends unfurled from a San Francisco balcony a 40-panel quilt that publicly memorialized loved ones who had died of AIDS. The Quilt has become the world’s biggest piece of folk art, weighing 54 tons and stretching more than 50 miles when the grave-size, 6-foot by 3-foot panels are laid end to end. When the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) is held July 21 to 25 in Washington, DC, the NAMES Project Foundation will display the Quilt in its entirety for the first time since 1996. It will be displayed in 50 venues in the DC area, including the National Mall. Sections of the Quilt will be on display from June 27 to July 1 at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in DC.

To read the USA Today article, click here.

To read more about the Quilt in the Capital, click here.