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Quilts: A Window to the Past


Quilting fans are in for a treat with Quilts: A Window to the Past. The exhibition will be on view at The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages through June 2, 2002.

Enjoyed for their beauty, quilts are much more than decorative bed covers. They're tangible evidence of people's lives and the times in which they lived. (left: Pieced quilt, Star of Bethlehem, c. 1840, cotton, cotton chintz, plain weave, roller-printed, Pennsylvania, Collection of Victoria Hoffman)

Quilts have traced and reflected changes in American society, technology, architecture and fashion. This exhibition explores those changes from the early nineteenth century to the present.

Millions of Americans enjoy quiltmaking and many more appreciate the colorful artistry of the craft. Quilts: A Window to the Past includes 34 quilts and more than 150 supporting artifacts that illustrate the historical context in which the quilts were made, including sewing accessories, related textiles, and photographs.

The quilts that will be displayed represent many of the most important styles, including Star of Bethlehem, Sawtooth, Spinning Triangles, Presentation, Tree of Life, and Crazy Quilts. Ethnically diverse traditions will also be represented by contemporary selections from two Long Island women, African American quilter Ora Kirkland and Native American quilter Ina McNeil. Ms. Kirkland's work, MusAfrica, is a tribute to African-American musicians, including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Ms. McNeil's work depicts the Native American eight pointed star symbol. Three quilts from the museum's collection will also be included, highlighted by a stunning and colorful presentation quilt "The Ladies of Port Jefferson," 1859. (right: Appliqué child's quilt, Dutch theme, c. 1930, cotton, plain weave, Ohio, Collection of Victoria Hoffman)

Many special programs will be offered to the public in conjunction with the Quilts exhibition. They include a gallery tour, led by quilt expert and exhibition curator Victoria Hoffman and a hands-on quilting demonstration with several quilters whose work is included in the exhibit. A variety of educational programs for children will also be offered, including Story Hours and a quilting workshop designed especially for kids.

A catalogue, authored by Ms. Hoffman, accompanies Quilts: A Window to the Past. Assistance and support for the exhibition has been generously provided by Rabbit Goody. Exhibition tour management is provided by Thomas & Associates, Inc., and Fine Art Services, New York. Additional funding to support the public programs being offered in conjunction with the quilts exhibition has been provided by the New York State Council on the Arts.

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