Preservation work is one of the most important but least noticeable things history museums do. To educate museum visitors on the work of diligent preservation specialists, The History Center is collaborating with the Tompkins County Quilters Guild to re-house gems from its quilt collection for a presentation called, "Historic Quilts Unwrapped."
Similar to the "Historic Treasures Unwrapped" and "Historic Paintings Unwrapped” exhibits, patrons will be able to watch Guild members preserve treasured textiles in the gallery. Workers will be taking quilts from their current storage space, photographing them, and documenting their history. Then, the quilts will be re-housed in archival storage boxes for conservation. During each of the three months that the members are working, there will be rotating exhibits of quilts on display, featuring superb examples from the mid- to late 19th century.
The Tompkins County Quilters Guild was founded in 1974 to promote and support quilters and quilting in Tompkins County, and to provide education and fellowship for its members.
Perhaps the greatest endeavor of the Quilters Guild was a "quilting extravaganza" in celebration of the nation's 200th birthday. In August 1976, they put on an extraordinary Bicentennial Finger Lakes Quilt Exhibit, the largest quilt show to that date in the nation, displaying 600 quilts from 14 Finger Lakes counties. More than 8,000 visitors from all over the country attended the event. Other programs of the Guild include quilt raffles, annual participation in the Ithaca Festival, and other exhibits.
"Historic Quilts Unwrapped" opens on Gallery Night, Friday March 2, and runs through May. All visitors are welcome!