June 7, 2013 to March 2, 2014

“In many of the blocks, the corners of the pieces didn’t fit too well. I had to mention it, and she came right back with, ‘Well, if you can do better, prove it!! If not, keep still.’ Soooooo- What else could I do?”

Over the next fifty years he made more than 300 quilts! For the first 25 years his quilts were family projects because his father, mother, and wife hand quilted them.

October 4, 2013 to June 1, 2014

Quilts tell stories. Materials, techniques, and designs illuminate trade routes, technology, regional traits, and connections between quiltmakers. A quilt speaks for a silent and anonymous maker from the past. 

The quilting stitches themselves are an important part of a quilt’s story, yet that story may be hidden because stitching patterns are not easily “read.” For whole cloth quilts, the stitches whisper the story, as the subtle, tone-on-tone stitching veils the intricate patterns.

December 6, 2013 to August 31, 2014

Collecting is one of the most popular American pastimes. People love to acquire groups of related items, searching out rare and mint examples in pursuit of the elusive goal of assembling a comprehensive and premier collection.

Almost every type of object has its devotees. An Internet search for “collecting in America” reveals websites dedicated to candy containers, beer cans, road maps, and spark plugs, as well as traditional domains of fine art, stamps, and coins. Quilts, too, are another popular collecting area.

June 6, 2014 to February 28, 2015

In the 1920s and 1930s, quilt kits—ready-made sets of fabric components—were new on the market and were seen as a modern, time-saving way to make a well-designed bedcovering. Kits of die-cut pieces for appliqué and pieced quilts sold for as little as $2.85 – at a time when a gallon of milk cost about 50 cents and a loaf of bread about 10 cents. Kits saved the maker the time needed for tracing around templates and cutting out each design unit. Show-stopping Lone Star and Broken Star quilts, so common in the 1930s, even came packaged with all the diamond pieces sorted by color.

March 7, 2014 to November 29, 2014

Log Cabin quilt blocks are visually dynamic for a very simple reason: CONTRAST. In the three Log Cabin block designs, contrasting light and dark areas fall on either side of diagonal lines. 

And when many blocks are set together in a quilt, these lines move, quiver, ripple, dart, or spin across the surfaces. They are Dynamic! Dynamite! 

March 6, 2015 to August 26, 2015

Reflections of the Exotic East in American Quilts presents an historical overview of the influence of Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern design on American quiltmaking. It illustrates this influence through the Eastern motifs and materials used in quilts made between 1800 and 1950. Quilts from this period reflect the ongoing Western fascination with the "Orient," and also reveal the inaccurate and incomplete European and American vision of the mysterious and alluring “exotic” East.

September 5, 2014 to May 31, 2015

When was the last time you wrote your signature? What does your signature say about you? If in the digital age we don’t use signatures, how will we authentically represent ourselves? 

Right now, you are surrounded by “Signature Cloths,” quilts covered with distinctive, hand-written and embroidered autographs of ordinary people. These signatures illustrate shared purposes, new communities, individuality, and—at the most basic level—evidence of the signer’s existence.

March 6, 2015 to November 21, 2015

Since the American Revolution, when men marched off to war women mobilized at home. They raised money for relief, fed their families on limited rations, rallied patriotic spirits, celebrated victory, advocated for peace, built weapons, rolled bandages, comforted the wounded and mourned the dead: Women “covered” many of these activities with quilts. 

June 5, 2015 to February 6, 2016

On many levels, we get to know others—and ourselves—better through quilts.

Antique quilts provide windows into the past. And in understanding them, we gain greater insight into our own heritage.

Global quilts help us appreciate other cultures. From India to Indiana, domestic textiles like quilts reveal the diversity of the world’s people and remind us of our common humanity.

September 4, 2015 to May 25, 2016

“You can find joy in anything you do. It makes me feel so good to make a pretty quilt and have someone enjoy it.” 
—Nora Ezell

African-American quilts are a critical segment of quilt history. They reflect the diverse traditions that merge to form our American quilt heritage. African-American quilts come in every imaginable style: traditional patterns and original patterns, bold colors and subdued colors, and pieced quilts and story quilts. Like all American quilts, they vary from region to region, from era to era, and from person to person.


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