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Posts Tagged ‘american folk art museum’

Photo: Gavin Ashworth
Klewicke, “Original Design Quilt” (Corning, New York, 1907), pieced silk, faille, taffeta, and satin, digitized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

Nowadays, it’s not enough for museums to exhibit art that you can go see or read about in a book: they want to be able to share their treasures online. That’s why the American Folk Art Museum in New York City is digitizing the New York Quilt Project, which features more than 6,000 quilts and their histories.

Allison Meier writes at Hyperallergic, “From a 19th-century block pattern quilt made from a woman’s wedding dress, to a commemorative quilt celebrating the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the New York Quilt Project contains an invaluable record of the state’s folk art history. …

“Now AFAM [the American Folk Art Museum] is digitizing these materials to make them more accessible. …

“The vast majority of these quilts are not at the New York City museum, but are heirlooms in private collections, whether an attic in the Catskills or a quilt trunk in Brooklyn. … AFAM has so far put about 1,500 quilts online, and expects to finish the digitization in 2019. AFAM also has related oral history recordings that they’re working to digitize.

“Quilt projects statewide were really popular in the ’80s, and people started collecting their histories,” [Mimi Lester, an AFAM archivist and project manager for the digitization] explained.

“The Kentucky Quilt Project, founded in 1981, was the first of these, inspiring a resurgence of interest in the United States. Frequently these grassroots initiatives revolved around ‘quilt days,’ at which people could have their family quilts documented. …

“People would bring their quilts to YMCAs or churches or museums, and we would have registrars there who would help the individuals fill out the forms and take photographs,” Lester said. …

“Details were recorded like family background, religion, where a quiltmaker learned the craft, why they made the quilt, and where they obtained textiles, and a small tab was sewn into the back of each quilt for identification. These stories often chronicle immigration.”

Click here for photos of some lovely quilts — and lovely quilters.

Hat tip: radio show Studio 360 on twitter, @studio360show.

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