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Thread: What would you do?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    My grandmother was quite a quilter. I have a half dozen of her quilts or so. Most are well used, but a few of them are in pristine condition. They've been sitting in a cedar chest (one that belonged to my mother) for decades. One is a yo-yo bedspread. One is a double wedding ring that won her grand prize at the Malheur County (Oregon) Fair many years ago. The other is a crazy quilt made from a variety of fabrics. All of her quilts were sewn by hand--both the piecing and the quilting. I truly believe that these quilts I've just listed are museum quality, which brings me to my question.

    I can't bear to bring these quilts out to use them because they are too precious. I know that they would just get dirty and worn out if we were to use them. I could hang them, I suppose, but that's not really where I'm headed. So I'm thinking seriously about donating them to a museum. When I'm gone, no one will know anything about them. That's why I'm thinking about this so much. I just don't really know where to start with this.

    What ideas to you have? If you were going to keep them, what would you do with them to document their history? And if you were going to donate them, what would be your first step? I could sell them to a collector, but I really just want to preserve their history. I don't care about making money from them. By the way, I am her last living descendent.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Virginia
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    199
    I'm awake and brave at 3:25 so...

    I'd start looking (Google) for textile museums in your county (or your grandmother's county) and then state, then part of the country.

    I'd check with local historical societies - town or city, county state and see what they collect and what happens to their collections after a few years.

    I might offer to frame the quilt under glass as a gift to a local hospital as a decoration. Offer it to a library with wall space and maybe would still frame it under glass.

    Talk with other museums in your area, farm machinery museum or pioneer museum might love having a handmade quilt on it's walls.

    Talking with these kinds of people might get you pointed in the right direction as well. Maybe they would know exactly who would be interested and so on.

    I'd be sure to have the biographical information sewn onto the back somehow. IMHO the quilts would lose value if they lost their identity.

    Good luck!
    Jois

  3. #3
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
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    South Puget Sound, Wa. State
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    Wow!
    To have such treasure...well, for starters I would start a scrapbook of these quilts that has pictures, the story as you know it of these quilts, pictures of hand quilting, how you came to own them, when or where or why they were made, etc...then I would start to document your journey on decicing to either keep them or donate to a musuem. Then the final ending to where/ what musuem or to whom they end up.
    Jot down your feelings and thoughts on this.
    I think this is just to cool and would be an experiance alot of people would like to hear about.
    kirsten

  4. #4
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    Oh...
    Forgot to add...
    Get an appraisal QUICK!!!!
    K

  5. #5
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    What a wonderful treasure you have. And I love that you want to donate them so they can be preserved. All of the above advice is great.You can go on line and google to see what our State has. I think it would be nice to be able to keep them in their original state, close to you.

  6. #6
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninnie
    What a wonderful treasure you have. And I love that you want to donate them so they can be preserved. All of the above advice is great.You can go on line and google to see what our State has. I think it would be nice to be able to keep them in their original state, close to you.
    I agree.

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I think you have a wonderful idea!!! I am sure there are many places in your state that would love to have one or all of them :D:D:D
    They would also probably love to have as much background history on them as you could supply too.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    I love the idea of having them framed and donated to a hospital or other institution but with the stipulation when and if they took it down it came back to you.

  9. #9
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    As her last living descendant, your idea is a fabulous one. I agree that now is the time to do the research to find the information you need ... where (hopefully) you, as the giver and the museum, as the receiver are both very happy with the arrangement.

  10. #10
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    BArbara, I am sure that your local Historical Society would either love to have them or would know the best place to donate them. I was part of a state wide quilt documentation program here in Maryland in the late 80s. It was co-sponsored by the then Extension Homemakers and the DAR musuem in Washington, DC. Our county documented over 600 quilts. We took pictures of them hanging on a frame both of the entire quilt and some close ups of blocks or motifs. We attached a label to the back of each of them with a reference number from the documentation that would link them to the information and pictures than stored by the Historical Society. We had textile experts come in from the DAR and other institutions to examine them and give their opinions of the age, workmenship, present condition and value of each quilt. We also helped the persons presenting the quilts fill out a detailed questionare concerning the history of the quilt and it's maker along with any legends or family stories connected. The quilt owners got copies of everything including the experts comments and photos if they so desired. Our local historical society was thrilled when several of the quilts were donated to their collection.
    The historical society would also be a great place to get contact informaiton for textile experts or appraisers in your area.
    We would also like it if you shared pictures of the quilts with us.

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