‘Pieces of History’ quilt show opens at Pioneer Museum of Alabama

Published 7:29 pm Monday, February 16, 2009

The fifth annual “Pieces of History” Quilt Show opened on Valentine’s Day at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and exhibits more than 100 “pieces” of history as told, one stitch at a time.

Jerry Peak, museum director, said opening day of the exhibit was well attended, and he expects the quilt exhibit to attract the interest of people of all ages and from all walks of life.

The “Pieces of History” Quilt Show will run through March 31.

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“We have quilts that are right off the frame and some that date back to the late 1700s,” Peak said. “The oldest quilt that we have in the exhibit is a ‘feather’ quilt that belongs to the museum and dates back to 1775. It belonged to the Passmore family of the Monticello community and was made by Mrs. Sam Passmore’s grandmother in South Carolina and brought to Pike County around 1820.

“In 1832, the Passmores stood by the road and watched as soldiers drove the Indians to the West. That gives us some idea of just how old that quilt is.”

Peak said the exhibit includes several quilts that date back to the 1800s and a large number that are Depression era quilts.

The story cards that are included in the exhibit give historical information about the quilts and identify the quilt makers and the owners, when known, and the quilt patterns. The storycards also include interesting anecdotes about the quilt or the quilter.

“Some of the quilts that are in the exhibit belong to collectors, who purchase quilts at a variety of places, so there may not be a lot of identifying information about them,” Peak said. “However, most of the patterns are familiar to those who know about quilting.”

And, those who are familiar with heirloom fabrics can make an educated guess as to when a quilt was made by the fabric used and the pattern of the fabric.

“Quilt patterns are often known by different names,” Peak said. “The pattern that is called Martha Washington’s Flower Garden is also called Grandmother’s Flower Garden. The Dutch Rose is also known as Hearts and Gizzards. Not only are the patterns interesting, so are the names, which often come from the region where the quilt was made.”

Some of the most colorful quilts are string quilts and “piece” quilts that were made from scarps of cloth. The quilts were simply put together as bed warmers and with little or no thought of design, Peak said.

One quilt of great interest is a reproduction quilt made by Carol Glayre, a Pioneer Quilter.

“It’s called the Dixie Rose Confederate Memorial Quilt and is a reproduction of a quilt that was made in the 1860s,” Peak said.

During the Civil War, women made quilts for the soldiers and most were made from scraps. After the war, the women continued to make quilts to be used as fundraisers for injured soldiers and widows and children of men who had given their lives for “the cause.”

“Carol’s quilt is a reproduction of one of those quilts and adds variety and interest to the ‘Pieces of History’ Quilt Exhibit,” Peak said. “But we have more than 100 quilts on display and anyone who enjoys the art of quilting or the history of our area will certainly enjoy this exhibit.”

Museum hours are from 9 until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 students K-12 and university students with ID. Special group rates are offered for groups of 25 or more. Admission includes a tour of the museum and grounds as well as the quilt exhibit. For more information, call 334-566-3597.