Stitched Together

Quilting is not an American invention, but a skill carried to the New World by immigrants. However, in the almost two and a half centuries since the colonies became states, quilting evolved into a uniquely American tradition represented by the proliferation of block style designs. Most early quilts were not the thrifty creations of hard-strapped settlers, but elegant, complex compositions that commemorated significant life events and were reserved for the family’s best bed. It is rare to find an Arkansas quilt that pre-dates 1850; the majority of surviving 19th century quilts were produced in the last quarter of the century by the hard-working wives and daughters of independent yeoman farmers. Despite the demands of daily life, many Arkansas women found time to create some of the most exquisitely crafted quilts in the entire country. This exhibit tells the story of quilting in Arkansas through a selection of the museum’s most treasured bed covers.