State Historic Site
By Curator Nancy McClure; from Trail End Notes, November 2002
OVER THE PAST several months, Trail End’s curatorial staff has been busy reorganizing the collections storage areas. As previously reported, we have installed new storage cabinets to accommodate the many artifacts not currently on exhibit. When complete, the reorganization, which includes preparation of a detailed inventory and location list, will facilitate staff access to stored collections. This not only will aid us in properly caring for and documenting the artifacts, but will also make it easy to rotate them out of storage and into exhibit areas so that visitors can see more of the treasures Trail End houses.
While reboxing a quilt during the reorganization, we were reminded of the beauty and workmanship that goes into these handcrafted textiles. It seems that many families have quilts in their possession, likely handed down by a grandparent. Such heirlooms need proper care to last the generations, but also should be shared as the works of art they are. We thought some tips on displaying quilts – while also looking out for their preservation – might interest our readers.
Before displaying a quilt, its condition should always be carefully assessed. A quilt with fabric in good condition, that has intact stitching both in the piecing and in the quilting, can safely be displayed with a few precautions. Some things to think about as you plan where and how to display your heirloom quilt include:
If you have a quilt that is torn and threadbare, it's not a good candidate for display. Such a quilt, saved for sentimental reasons, can be stored according to museum standards (wrapped inside acid-free paper and rolled onto an acid-free core or placed into an acid-free box) to stave off further deterioration. While fewer people will see it, you will know that you are caring for it and can pass it on to the next generation.