Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Piece of Her Mind: Culture and Technology in American Quilts

Sarah Hall Gwyer

Washington DC's DAR Museum has opened a new quilt exhibition. A Piece of Her Mind: Culture and Technology in American Quilts, curated by Alden O'Brien, will be on view through December 31, 2019.


"Today’s culture makes it easy for American women to engage in the world around them, thanks to advances in both women’s rights and technology. But between 1820 and 1920, many women chose to respond to current events and trends creatively, through one of their prescribed activities: needlework. Quilts allowed women to engage in the world while conforming to their era’s gender roles, which restricted middle-class women to the private, domestic sphere. This exhibition will present quilts that reflect their makers’ interest in their world."

Flag quilt from a Peterson's Magazine pattern in 1861 
by Margaret English Wood Dodge, reflecting news of the Civil War

Silk hexagon medallion by Rebecca Vanuxem Lombart Williams.
The tour docent here is showing a photo of the Henry Clay
campaign ribbon, scraps of which are in Rebecca's quilt.

Chintz-applique basket from the group of quilts
attributed to Catherine Garnhart.

Quilts in a cultural context

Medallion quilt with fabric portrait of Andrew Jackson,
probably produced for his 1828 presidential campaign.

On loan from a private collector

Alden O'Brien, Curator of Costume and Textiles, will be giving a lecture Candidates and Celebrities in 19th century Quilts on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 from 12:00-1:00.
Free tickets here:

And the Museum is hosting a one-day meeting Friday November 15, 2019. Plan your Washington trip now for Culture & Technology in American Quilts: A Symposium.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe time doesn't change much. I finished a political quilt in 2016... just so my descendants will know what my thoughts were!