Quilts from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 1

I would never be able to trace my ancestry to a Revolutionary era patriot (for obvious reason, haha!).  So that means I will never be able to join the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Nonetheless I have a deep fondness for the Society and and the DAR Museum.  An excerpt from the “About DAR” page on their website reads: “The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children.” I love that their mission statement has such an heirloomy feel to it.

I am still aspiring to be a good blogger — when I was there last week, I didn’t take any pictures of the buildings like a good blogger would.  I hope to go back in a few weeks.  When I do go back, I will remember that I am not only going there to learn history, I also need to live up to my responsibilities as a blog keeper. ;)

[Photo credit: http://www.womeninthearts.wordpress.com]

I am always struck by the enormity of the columns and the message on the banners on my way getting to the entrance.  The banners say “Preservation, Patriotism, Education” in case the picture does not show sufficient clarity.  I thought those sentiments can just as easily transfer into the sentiments among quilters to preserve our quilting heritage, to express a love for our Country through the quilts we make, and to educate the generations to come about the art of quilting.

[Photo credit: http://www.stay.com/washington/museum/11839/dar-museum/%5D

Onto the special event “Quilts from Storage” I attended at the Museum last week…. “Quilts from Storage” was a special program conducted by DAR’s Curator of Textiles and Costumes, Alden O’Brien, showing the attendees quilts that are not displayed to the public.  Ms. O’Brien authored the book Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum.  So, as you can imagine, she was an absolute wealth of information during the program.

We were allowed to gently touch and caress the historic quilts during the program, with gloves on.  It was just an amazing feeling for me to be able to physically connect with the beautiful quilty treasures from 150-200 years ago!!  I will show you the pictures of the quilts I touched in this post – and at some point in the future do posts on a few quilts that caught my fancy!  Feel free to click on the quilt names to see images of the quilts in full, and read about the information on those quilts.

1.  Hannah Wallis Miller Quilt

2.  Eliza McKee’s Applique Vine Quilt

3.  Full Blown Poppy

4.  Sunburst Quilt

5.  Lone Star

6.  Thomas Sykes Quilt

7.  Checkerboard

8.  Silk Log Cabin (Barn Raising) Quilt

9.  Helen Dounce Crazy Quilt

Sorry for the picture overload today — did you know that all the quilts in DAR’s permanent collection can be viewed on Quilt Index’s website?  Just a warning:  that website is absolutely addictive!

Thanks for popping in!  Have a great day!

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26 thoughts on “Quilts from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 1

  1. Wendy, you are such an inspiration. You are one of the best and most dedicated Americans and quilter. Your husband must be a wonderful person and very proud of you. You are quite a role model for your young daughter and you are exposing her to such a wonderful world. My hat is off to you young lady for everything that you do with such tenderness and beauty.
    Thank you for lighting up my world as well!

  2. Wendy, I can’t imagine what it must have been like to touch those quilts, and wonder about the women who had first worked on them. Did the lecturer say why these quilts were not on display? There’s so much history in these quilts, where did the quilter get the fabric, how long did it take for her to get all the fabric needed, what was going on in the country at the time she was working on it, what about her family? People very rarely think about all the aspects, because we’re so used to going to a fabric store and getting everything we need.

    • Hi Chris, Alden O’Brien here (curator of costume and textiles at the DAR Museum). The quilts shown in this program are not on display because we have over 300 quilts and 200 coverlets and there isn’t room to display them all at once even if it were good policy to do so–which it isn’t, as antique textiles can’t be on longterm display without irreversible damage. We do have 8 quilts on display in the gallery at any given time (except when gallery is closed for changing of exhibits), and at least 3 more in period rooms. At the moment we have an additional 2 quilts in the museum gallery’s exhibit on folk art. So any time you come to visit the DAR–except during changeover of exhibits, usually in Sept.–and we’re closed for two weeks in summer when the DAR has their annual convention–you will see quilts in the museum gallery.

  3. Isn’t that an amazing book! I am kicking myself for not purchasing it when we visited the Wisconsin Quilt Museum a few weeks ago…will add it to my Christmas wish list!

    Gorgeous quilts – and the stories behind them are so much a part of women’s history. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Oh, my goodness — what fabulous eye candy you have shared with us all!! I’d not seen that book before, but it’s on my wish list now for sure!
    I’m in awe of the workmanship in those quilts made by quilters who had none of our wonderful tools. Thank you so so much for sharing!

  5. Gotta add that book to my wish list as well! What fabulous quilts! I am especially fond of the Sunburst quilt. Thanks so much for sharing since I may never have the opportunity for a personal visit.

  6. That is on my bucket list. to visit a place that has old quilts archived. Here in NS there is no such place. My favorites are the appliqued ones. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh boy, the quilts are amazing, what a thril to have seen them up close. Thank you for the beautiful photos that show detail. I have seen the sunburst in a book but it didn’t do justice to the quilting and trapunto.

  8. What a thrill it must have been to be so up close and personal with all of those amazing pieces of work. Thanks so much for sharing the beauty with us.

  9. Thanks for coming to the program and spreading the word about our collection and its presence on the Quilt Index. Nice to have you here.–Alden O’Brien

  10. I’ll take quilt pictures over building pictures anyday. You have your priorities right! Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. Ooh, I love that full-blown poppy Thatcher Family quilt. At first glance I thought it was all applique; it took me a moment to realize the flowers were pieced! Beautiful!

  12. Wow! What wonderful pictures!!! The details, the fabrics, the texture show so well. I have and love the book. Your pictures are absolutely lovely!

  13. Pingback: Quilt from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 2 « Ivory Spring

  14. Pingback: Quilts from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 3 « Ivory Spring

  15. Pingback: Quilts from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 4 « Ivory Spring

  16. Pingback: Color Burst in QUILT (June/July 2013) | Ivory Spring

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