Stitches in Time
September 1, 2023 - July 31, 2025
Showcasing thirty of the finest quilts in the Kentucky Museum collection, Stitches in Time includes traditional and art quilts ranging in age from the early 19th century to the early 21st century. Quilts on view include a whitework masterpiece made by President George Washington's niece-in-law; a 66,000-piece quilt made by an immigrant from New Zealand in the 1930s; quilts with portraits of Henry Clay and Father Thomas Merton; and several textiles associated with Florence Peto, a leading figure in the second twentieth century quilt revival.
Developing the Exhibition
Our collection includes more than 330 quilts, which recently underwent extensive research, evaluation, and digitization. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Museum undertook a three-year project with a Term Assistant Curator of Folk Art Jackson Medel that included re-cataloging the quilt collection. Medel also worked with eminent quilt scholar Laurel Horton as the expert evaluator of the quilt collection, with four intensive sessions examining the collection quilt-by-quilt in rough chronological order. Her detailed evaluation not only improved the provenance but the object descriptions with more detailed and accurate descriptions.
Happily, we also were able to fund graduate assistants and interns in the context of the Luce grant, giving three graduate students from the Folk Studies program the crucial opportunity to get hands-on work in collections, object transportation, cataloging, provenance work, object processing, photography, and more.
The results of this analysis empowered the project team to select the quilts on display in Stitches in Time, as well as provide guidance for future collecting, conservation, and exhibition efforts.
Conserving the Quilts
We would also like to thank the Quilter’s Guild of Dallas, which partially underwrote the examination and treatment of twenty of the quilts in this exhibition. The quilts were conserved by long-term colleague, scholar, and expert textile conservator Dr. Margaret Ordonez.
Adopt a Quilt
For more than eighty years, Kentuckians and non-Kentuckians alike have responded to President Cherry’s appeal that “Kentuckians need to know Kentucky.” Some of the most notable responses are gifts which over time built one of the largest and most significant quilt collections in the state.
You can support this collection by symbolically adopting a quilt in our collections with a monetary donation. Click the button below to learn more.