Sunday, December 4, 2022

CW Historic Textiles Exhibitions Opening in December

(Colonial Williamsburg)

WILLIAMSBURG — Two new textile exhibitions will open at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg on Dec. 3.

The first new exhibit — “Stitched in Time: American Needlework” — will feature nearly 60 examples of bedrugs, whitework, embroidered hand towels, quilted petticoats, samplers, mourning and commemorative needlework, crewelwork, needlework with religious and geographical influences as well as sewing accessories, will remain on view through Jan. 2, 2025 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

The second exhibit is an update to the already popular “The Art of the Quilter” exhibit which opened in 2021. Fifteen pieces will be added, 12 of which have never been on display before. This configuration of the exhibition, which will remain on view through August at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, will include eleven large quilts, one woven coverlet, and three doll-size quilts that tell stories about people from America’s past and the societies in which they lived.

“For decades The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has collected textiles from a broad and highly diverse array of ethnic, cultural, and regional communities,” said Ronald L. Hurst, senior vice president for education and historic resources. “These new exhibitions allow us to share these beautiful and story-laden documents of early American society with the visiting public.”

The history of needlework and textiles is a long and lengthy one, according to Colonial Williamsburg. They were especially common threads in the lives of most 18th- and 19th-century females across social, economic, and geographical boundaries. Early American women—whether poor, enslaved, indigenous, middle class, or wealthy—contributed to their family’s household furnishings and enriched their homes and clothing by embellishing textiles with decorative stitches.

“We are excited to share The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s regionally and ethnically diverse needlework collection with our museum visitors,” said Kimberly Smith Ivey, senior curator of textiles. “Over 50 textiles for comparison have been selected from regions of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the Western Frontier. Highlights of the exhibition include a schoolgirl sampler created by a young Jewish girl who inscribed her work with her hometown of Chicago. Another extraordinary embroidery was created by an Irish immigrant in Frenchtown, Michigan, at the Oblate Sisters of Providence School, which was co-founded by Mother Theresa Maxi Duchermin, a Catholic of color.”

“Stitched in Time” is funded by the Leonard J. and Cynthia L. Alaimo Endowment for Colonial Williamsburg’s Art Museums, the Jeanne L. Asplundh Textile Exhibitions Endowment, and the George Cromwell Trust. “The Art of the Quilter” is funded by the June G. Horsman Family Trust.

Additional information about the Art Museums and Colonial Williamsburg as well as tickets are available online at, by calling 855-296-6627, and by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

Related Articles