#039;Pieces of History#039; coming to Pioneer Museum

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 6, 2003

Quilts to warm the body and stories to warm the heart will make the Pioneer Museum of

Alabama the place to be during the waning days of winter.

The museum will host a quilt exhibit, "Pieces of History' from Feb. 13 through March 31, and Charlotte Gibson, museum director, said the exhibit has the potential to be one of the most well-attended shows ever at the museum.

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"We will have close to 100 quilts - heirloom, brand new and everything in between," she said. "We began accepting quilts Thursday and will continue to register quilts through Monday. Every quilt will be handled with great care and displayed properly. They will be in good hands, so we encourage everyone to enter their quilts in the exhibit."

Those who would like to bring their quilts for display and for sale are invited to do so.

"We will have the quilts for sale hanging on clothes lines so they can be easily removed when they are sold," Gibson said.

Many of the quilts come with a story and Gibson asks that those stories be written on cards so they can be shared and enjoyed.

Bea McKnatt, a member of the museum quilters, assisted with registering the quilts Thursday and was fascinated by some of the stories that unfolded.

"This quilt was made from Bull Durham chewing tobacco cloth pouches," McKnatt said. "Mrs. Browder's daddy chewed the tobacco. Her mother bleached the cloth pouches and then dyed them with poke sallet berries, green walnuts, broom sage and pine straw."

McKnatt said the quilt is also interesting in that it didn't cost a penny.

"They carded their own cotton and the thread that was used to sew it was pulled from flour sacks, so it didn't cost anything to make," she said. "The quilt was made around 1920. Back then, quilts weren't made for looks; they were made to keep you warm."

Another quilt with a story stitched into it was made during World War II.

"Florence Inester made the quilt while her husband was serving in the Navy," McKnatt said. "It kept her mind off the war.

It's a string quilt with a cross in every square."

Vernon Inester lost his right leg in the war, but continued in a life of service as a Baptist minister.

Peggy Hubbard, also helped to register the quilts, and brought one of her own to share - a brand new quilt but also one with special meaning.

"My mother liked to wear cotton dresses," Hubbard said. "When she died, I cut pieces from her dresses and made a quilt. This is very special to me."

Every quilt in the "Pieces of History" quilt exhibit is special because they were all labors of love.

"We hope that everyone will plan to visit the exhibit one or more times," Gibson said. "It will be the kind of exhibit that you will enjoy time and time again."

The exhibit will be included in the price of admission to the museum.

Admission is $3 for senior citizens (60 years and older), $5 for adults and $2 for students.

As always museum members are admitted free. Special group rates are available with advance reservations.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 until 5 p.m. Sunday.

For reservations or information call 566-3597.