Lincoln Program: Quilts and Textiles: Legacies of the American Civil War

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Sun, 2014-01-12 14:00 - 15:30

Join Museum Curator and Consultant, Madelyn Shaw, at a presentation on Quilts and Textiles: Legacies of the American Civil War, based on her new book, Homefront and Battlefield:  Quilts and Context in the Civil War.  There will be a book sale and signing after the presentation

The flag motif was used on the home front in everyday objects from aprons, shirts and slippers to shawls, handkerchiefs and especially quilts. These objects were made by women for their households and even shipped off to their soldiers at war. The flag motif seen on just about anything and everything made for comforting tokens of their allegiance and reminders of their loyalties and responsibilities to their families, communities and nations.

“The quilt has always been there, but I think in times of trouble people look to things that are comforting,” Shaw said. “There are even movements now to make quilts for returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan and another for little kids in hospitals with cancer and horrible things because it is tactile and comforting.”

 “I wanted to look at the Civil War not from the point of view of the generals, politicians and the battle,” Shaw said. “I wanted to look at how people actually lived their lives and what kinds of things everybody went through. I wanted to read their words, I wanted to hold the things that they held and show people those things, and show people what the people who lived through it felt.”

Ms. Shaw is a well-respected museum curator and consultant, and has created exhibitions for the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the American Textile Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. She has been affiliated with The Museum at F.I.T., NY and the RI School of Design.  In addition to her expertise on textiles of the Civil War era, she also lectures on textiles connected with the maritime trades, aviation, and the fashion industry.

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