Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Visit to our Local Historical Society Museum

Today I had the opportunity to visit our local county historical society's museum which houses a nice variety of rural Oregon antiques, including some spectacular quilts, along with a genealogical library and some wonderful friendly volunteers who answer questions and provide guided tours of the buildings.    Today's visit was a direct result of an article by our local newspaper's historian in yesterday's edition regarding a community of Amish people who once lived in the valley approximately 2 miles as the crow flies from our home.  I hoped the museum might have some examples of true Amish quilts, and one of the volunteers brought out their one example, which wasn't currently on exhibit.  With white gloves on, she removed a very fragile and beautiful quilt from its box, and allowed me to photograph it.
The quilt, which was not dated, is in extremely fragile condition, although the blues have remained especially bright and striking.
A detail of the hand quilting motif.
Hand quilting as viewed from the back, which was originally green.

The museum has a wide variety of crazy quilts, which I'll show in a future post.  This post focuses on several other hand pieced and appliqued examples currently on exhibit.

This undated quilt has great movement in its pieced blocks and was one of my favorites.  The red fabric has faded badly and is worn through in a majority of the sashing. 

The striking snowball quilt top shown at the left in the photo above dates from the 1880s, and is thought to have been made from fabric pieces from a dressmaker's shop.  The circle pieces are backed with a muslin type fabric.  The quilt was never completed and large basting stitches are still visible.
Detail of the snowball quilt top.
The strips in this spider-web quilt dating to about 1928 are approximately 1/4 inch wide. 

This red cross friendship quilt dates to 1918.

Undated ribbon pinwheel quilt top.

Log cabin quilt, undated, constructed of primarily of velvets with some other fabrics.

I was unable to see the complete quilt, which is dated to approximately 1840.  Known as the Perkins Quilt, it  appears in the book Treasures in the Trunk by Mary Bywater Cross.

A great number of the quilts on  display were hand quilted with the Baptist Fan motif.  In some instances the fans were huge, as in the example on the left in the above photo.  I was particularly drawn to this particular quilt for the wonderful shadowing effect of the echoed quilting of the fans.  The embroidered and appliqued friendship quilt on the right dates to 1933.

This wonderful appliqued quilt dates to the 1870s, and is also featured in the book Quilts of the Oregon Trail by Mary Bywater Cross.  Each applique block measures at least 30 inches across.  Note the fading of some of the green leaves.

This sweet little quilt may have started life as a baby or doll quilt.  It was serving as a table topper in the exhibit.  I loved the fabrics in this, especially the yellows.

A beautifully quilted and well preserved example.  The quilt was undated.

Equally interesting is the chair it was draped across.   A birthing chair, the tag indicates it is over 100 years old, although I do not know if the 100 years is from the date in the 1970s when it was donated to the museum or 100 years from present time.  Happy that times have changed!

While I haven't sewn a single stitch today, it was a very happy quilting day!  I hope your day was equally rewarding with quilting pleasures.


  1. I've been there for genealogy research, but not spent time at the museum - are the quilts there all the time? They're all beautiful. Was there more info on the Perkins quilt? Perkins could be a distant connection to my step-family as N.H.Perkins married my step-dad's great-grand-aunt, but if dating to 1840's would belong to the generation before him.

  2. Those are some gorgeous quilts! Is this the museum in Lafayeette? If so, I have been there the last time we visited our son in Dayton. My DIL wanted to try to find out more about their house, which was built around 1889, I believe. What a wonderful place!

  3. What a wonderful collection of quilts. Very inspiring.

  4. Absolutely adore all the quilts.....priceless treasures and another reason ALL our quilts should be labeled with some type of info regarding the quilt/quilter/recipient, etc!! Can't say a favorite (although the blue/white is my fave color combo!!)! Awesome post!!! Hugs.......

  5. Wow!! What a wonderful place!! I'll have to plan a trip there for sure. Beautiful quilts , amazing treasures :-)

  6. Beautiful quilts ..thank you for sharing.


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