Searching for Virginia quilts

staunton2editsVirginia quilters are searching for quilts made in the Old Dominion before the year 2000. On Saturday, June 15, volunteers for the Virginia Consortium of Quilters will hold a Documentation and Discovery Day at the Augusta County Historical Society, located in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art at 20 S. New Street in Downtown Staunton. Volunteers will be recording information about Virginia’s quilts and their makers to add to the statewide database. Photographs of each quilt and background information about who made it and where it might have been made will be archived at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg and at the historical society.

“It’s been about 25 years since the last statewide documentation project was done. That information helped establish the master Virginia quilt database and resulted in the publication of a book in 2006 on the topic. Over 3,000 quilts were documented but the search focused on those quilts made before 1900,” said Marcy Molinaro, independent curator and personal property appraiser. “The goal this time is to document quilts missed from the first effort as well as those brought in from new residents. By expanding the period to include anything before 2000, we can also see the evolution in the function of quilts from bed coverings to art forms.”

While the emphasis will be on those quilts made in Virginia by Virginians, all quilts brought to the Documentation Day will be recorded.

Nancy Sorrells, president of the Augusta County Historical Society that is co-sponsoring the project, said she feels that it is important to partner with other individuals and organizations that share the historical society’s desire to document and learn about the rich heritage of Augusta County. “Quilts are documents from our past with countless stories to tell. These fabric scraps lovingly stitched together years ago give us glimpses into the makers, the users, and even the businesses where needles and thread might have been purchased. The more we know about those pieces from our past, the richer we are. They are literally fabric history books and we are excited about what we might see during this discovery project.”

Owners of quilts who want their quilts documented can bring them (limit of three per person) to the R.R. Smith Center’s Lecture Hall on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Owners are asked to bring photos of the quilt makers if available and any information known about the quilter. No appointments are necessary and there is no charge.

For more information, contact Marcy Molinaro by email at, or by phone at 540.462.3994. Follow Virginia Quilt Documentation on Facebook for updates.

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