National Quilt Collection
"Quilt": A cover or garment made by putting wool, cotton or other substance between two cloths and sewing them together. An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, LL.D., New York 1828.
The National Quilt Collection incorporates quilts from various ethnic groups and social classes, for quilts are not the domain of a specific race or class, but can be a part of anyone’s heritage and treasured as such. Whether of rich or humble fabrics, large in size or small, expertly crafted or not, well-worn or pristine, quilts in the National Quilt Collection provide a textile narrative that contributes to America’s complex and diverse history. The variety and scope of the collection provides a rich resource for researchers, artists, quilt-makers and others.
Part of the Division of Home and Community Life textiles collection, the National Quilt Collection had its beginnings in the 1890s. Three quilts were included in a larger collection of 18th- and 19th-century household and costume items donated by John Brenton Copp of Stonington, Connecticut. From this early beginning, the collection has grown to more than 500 quilts and quilt-related items, mainly of American origin, with examples from many states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Most of the contributions have come to the Museum as gifts, and many of those are from the quilt-makers’ families. The collection illustrates needlework techniques, materials, fabric designs and processes, styles and patterns used for quilt-making in the past 250 years. The collection also documents the work of specific quilt-makers and commemorates events in American history.
Learn more about the quilt collection and step behind the scenes with a video tour.
"National Quilt Collection - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- The maker of this child's quilt remains unknown. Well worn, it is pieced in the Tumbling Blocks pattern, also referred to as Cubework or Boxes. The placement of the four inch diamond shaped pieces cut from various roller-printed cottons creates an example of an optical illusion in textiles. The lining is a roller-printed check cotton in red and brown. The quilt was completed with outline quilting, six stitches /inch, and bound with a strip of printed cotton folded over the edge and machine-stitched. The quilt was donated to the Museum in 1968 by Mrs. Dorothy Walkley Faul. She provided the information that the quilt had been in the Walkley family who had settled in Southington, Connecticut, about 1630 and that the quilt was probably made in the 1860s.
- Currently not on view
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center