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On Exhibit
Jan. 18 - Mar. 30
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Related Programs

Quilt 2

Quilt 3

Quilt 4

Quilt 4

Logo: Naional Quilting Association

Quilts and Bed Coverings from Regional Collections
Friday, January 18 – Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quilt 6: Whig Rose Variation


This exhibition includes quilts, bed coverings, and other needlework, many of which have not been on display before. Each quilt comes with its own personal history and the collection tells the story of families whose livelihoods were tied to local industries, including textile production, sewing machine manufacturing, and needle and button making.

Both private collectors and institutional lenders are helping to tell the region’s history through quilts. Whig Rose Variation, c. 1818 (picture), was made by students of Miss Sarah Pierce’s Female Academy in Litchfield. Quilt historian Sue Reich is loaning Young Man’s Fancy, c. 1830, which was made by Content Newtown of Durham.

The exhibition will include quilts that cover a period of approximately 125 years, from 1770 to 1900. The area’s history will be illustrated in the needlework that includes bed coverings, bed rugs, whole cloths and pieced quilts, embroidered coverlets. Together they tell the story of the shift from colonial domestic self-sufficiency through the rise of manufacturing.

A spinning wheel and a quilt made by Lois Hotchkiss comes from a private collection in Vernon. Lois Hotchkiss was born in Waterbury in 1795 and she was a substantial help to her mother who was widowed early and left to raise many children. Lois sometimes visited her friends with her spinning wheel in tow. One-Patch, a calico block on point with sashing is backed with a plain white cloth that was spun and woven by Lois’s mother, Tamar Richardson.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the domestic production of textiles began to decrease as the industrial revolution made its way to Connecticut. Textile mills, wool weaving factories, and even silkworm farms grew up along the state’s waterways, creating new towns and factory villages.

This exhibit has been organized by the Mattatuck Curator, Dr. Cynthia Roznoy, and Collections Manager, Suzie Fateh. The National Quilting Association is a sponsor of the exhibit.

Online Exhibitions

Community Quilt-Making Project
January 17 - February17

Join friends and neighbors in making a pieced quilt. It is an enjoyable way to record things about your neighborhood and city. Each participant will decorate a fabric square and each quilter will use his/her own creativity to sew, stitch or draw a design. Finished squares will be returned to the museum for joining. Blocks are available from Thursday, Jan. 17 to February 17, as long as supply lasts. Fee is $1.00 for fabric square, with instructions. Block must be returned by February 24, 2008. Volunteer to finish the quilt by calling 203-753-0381 x 12. The finished quilt will be on display on Saturday, March 22 at Sheep to Shawl on the Green.

Stories behind the Quilts
Wednesday, January 30, 2 p.m.
Whittemore Gallery

Join Collections Manager Suzie Fateh and Curator Dr. Cynthia Roznoy to discuss how the quilts in the exhibition, “Cover Stories: Quilts and Bed Coverings from Regional Collections” embody the stories of their creators. Free with museum admission.

Share your Quilt Stories
Thursday, February 7, 4 p.m.
Whittemore Gallery

See the historic quilts in the gallery and learn how your bed coverings fit into a stylistic or social context. Bring your quilt and story. Karen Pierce, Education Coordinator will lead the group and talk about her personal collection of quilts made in honor of various family members. Call 203-753-0381 x. 10 for reservations.

"Connecticut’s Textiles" — A Bus Tour Visiting Historic Mills
Saturday, February 23, 8:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Meet in the Museum Lobby at 8:15 a.m.

Explore the development of Connecticut’s textile industry on a bus tour offered by the Mattatuck Museum on Saturday, February 23. Manufacturing grew rapidly in the 1800s and Connecticut became a leader in the textile industry during the early years of the century. Join us as we visit key historic sites of cloth manufacturing and learn about the people who worked in the mills.

We begin the day at the Mattatuck Museum where we board a luxury bus at 8:15. Plan time to park in the free lots behind the Museum on Park Place. We travel first to the Manchester Historical Society and the Cheney Homestead. In 1838, six Cheney brothers established the Mount Nebo Silk Company; the business grew into the nation’s largest and most profitable silk mill by the late 1880s. In 1978, the mills and surrounding neighborhood were declared a National Historical Landmark District. In the district we will tour the Cheney homestead, the Manchester History Center that was the former Cheney Brothers Machine Shop, and see former mills, many of which are now luxury apartments and offices.

Traveling to Willimantic we then lunch at Willimantic Brewing Company/Main Street Café, an historic granite and limestone 1909 U.S. Post Office Building. In the afternoon we visit the Windham Textile & History Museum that preserves two 1877 buildings of a mill complex formally owned by the Willimantic Linen Company, which later became the American Thread Company. Our host will give us a tour of Dugan Mill, Thread Mill Square II and Dunham Hall Library. Dugan Mill replicates a late 19th century factory setting complete with an overseer’s office and a fully equipped shop floor. We will cross the street to Thread Mill Square II, and visit the replicated home of a working family and a mill owner’s mansion at the turn of the century and view their lifestyle and furnishings. The Museum also includes a lovely gift shop. We end the tour with a visit to the Ashford studio of textile artist and quilter Pat Ferguson where she works rescuing antique quilts and creating contemporary art quilts. The plan is to return to the Mattatuck Museum for 5:30.

Fee for the day is $85 for members and $90 for non-members. Reservations are required. Please call (203) 753-0381 x 10 to make reservations.

"Sheep to Shawl" — A family Event at the Mattatuck Museum
Saturday, March 22, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Bring your family to enjoy a bygone era when most everything was produced in the home. The first floor of the Museum will become an Indoors Artisans Market that will showcase handmade crafts. Celebrate the unveiling of the Waterbury Community Quilt while listening to live music.

© The Mattatuck Historical Society, Waterbury CT