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Virginia Quilt Museum sets third annual Textile Study Symposium

2017 marks the centennial of America’s entry into World War I.  Nearly 5 million Americans fought in “The Great War” with over 117,000 losing their lives on the battlefield.

On the home front, thousands of women were sewing and volunteering for the Red Cross.  Modern Priscilla magazine (devoted to needlework and everyday housekeeping) responded to President Wilson’s call for increased fund raising for the war effort.  The magazine encouraged a Quilt Campaign using their Red Cross pattern in order to raise money for the purchase of ambulances, emergency equipment, and yarn.

During three days in July of this centennial year, gather in and around Harrisonburg with Virginia Quilt Museum Symposium participants to consider Friction, Fray, and Fabric: Textiles in the First World War.  Gain multiple perspectives of the (first) Great War through the eyes of a soldier, a president, and a pacifist as the friction and fray come to light.  Then fabric takes center stage with a look at ways a nation responds to its war-affected situation and obligations.

Visit the website for full details on schedule, speakers, and registration for one, two, or all three days:



Thursday: Kim McCray (former VQM Director), Dynamic Aviation, Bridgewater, VA (“A Young Man with Valley Ties:  The World War I Service of Dwight Eisenhower” and tour of America’s first Air Force One)

Friday: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton, VA (tour)
Crossroads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, Harrisonburg, VA (tour and storytellers)
Phil Kniss (Pastor), Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA (“The Great Test: Mennonites During the Great War”)

Saturday: Speakers at Asbury United Methodist Church (next door to Museum)

  • Madelyn Shaw, Curator of Textiles at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution – “Shortages and Substitutes: American Textiles and the Great War”
  • Neva Hart, Quilt Historian – “A Red Cross Quilt from Sugar Grove”
  • Jackie Pamenter, Greene County, VA Historical Society – “The Fabric of a County in Wartime”
  • Sue Reich, Keynote Speaker – “World War I Quilts”
  • Reception, book signing, open exhibits, and sing-along with Nancy Bassett, Pianist (at Museum)
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