Life Goes On: Quilting During the American Civil War

Past Exhibit
Start Date:
September 19, 2023
End Date:
December 23, 2023

We often imagine historical events as all-encompassing, with normal everyday life coming to a halt. Rarely is that the case, especially when considering multi-year events like the American Civil War. Life goes on. People continue with their everyday activities; they go to their jobs, have babies, harvest crops, fall in love, move to a new town, get married, experience loss, and create.

The quilts in this exhibition are examples of life going on during the American Civil War. These quilts were not made to be sent to soldiers on the battlefield or to the wounded recovering in hospitals, these quilts were made to bring beauty into the home. Quilts of this quality, with intricate patterns, detailed quilting, and coordinating fabric are often the pieces that survive because they were not made for everyday use. These quilts are special now, 160 some years after they were made, and they were special when they were made. Marvel at the beauty of these quilts while considering how making something like this could have helped someone cope during the chaos and tragedy of the Civil War.

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Crossed Tulips Quilt, 1862, unknown maker
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