Antique Quilts on Display at Old Sturbridge Village

New Grouping of Antique Quilts on Display at Old Sturbridge Village
Final chance to view rare quilts - now through June 30 in Sturbridge, MA

A new group of antique quilts is now on display for the final months of the exhibit More Beautiful Than Any Other: Quilts from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection, 1790-1850, which ends June 30, 2011.  Because of the quilts' age, Old Sturbridge Village curators must limit the time each quilt can be exposed to light, and therefore decided to present this exhibit in two parts. The quilt exhibit is the first time in more than 10 years that antique quilts from the Village collection are out of storage and on display to the public. 

The oldest quilt on display dates to 1789, and rare quilts from all over New England are featured, along with a variety of period quilted garments, including petticoats, hoods, coats, and period sewing tools and accessories. The exhibit title refers to a silver medal-winning quilt made by a "Mrs. D. Baker" judged to be "more beautiful than any other" at an exhibition held at Faneuil Hall in Boston on September 20, 1841. For details on the exhibit: 800-733-1830;

Highlights of the new group of quilts in the Old Sturbridge Village exhibit include:

  • Miniature T-shaped pieced quilt with four patch, eight-pointed star and hexagonal patterns, and a T-shaped whitework quilt, both circa 1840 by Susannah Allen Anderson Howard (1813-1891) of Ware, Massachusetts. Susannah used an astounding 12,000 fabric pieces to make her quilt. T-shaped quilts were made to fit around bed posts and are a technique distinctive to New England.
  • Stenciled T-shaped coverlet circa 1820-50 by Hanna Corbin (1791-1852) of Woodstock, Connecticut.
  • Pieced quilt in the "Melon Patch" or "Orange Peel" pattern, circa 1825-35, attributed to Matilda Fiske (1784-1880) of Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
  • T-shaped pieced quilt, four-patch pattern with a Declaration of Independence handkerchief in the center, circa 1820, from the Arnold family of Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Wholecloth cradle quilt, circa 1810-30, thought to be Mary Peper's quilt, Medfield, Massachusetts.
  • Calamanco wool wholecloth quilt, 1789, unidentified American maker. Calamanco was a fabric made from tightly spun worsted wool with a smooth, shiny finish produced by "calendaring" or pressing the cloth between hot metal plates.

 Old Sturbridge Village has one of the largest textile collections in the northeast, with more than 6,000 pieces, including 250 quilts of all sizes, dozens of quilted garments, and hundreds of other bed coverings, such as blankets, sheets, woven coverlets and counterpanes (summer bed coverings). 

 The overall Old Sturbridge Village artifact collection has more than 60,000 artifacts. The museum celebrates New England life from 1790 - 1840, and is one of the oldest and largest living history museums in the country, with 59 antique buildings, three water-powered mills and a working farm. The museum is open year round, but hours change seasonally. For details:; 1-800-733-1830.

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