May 9, 2014
06:09 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Windham Textile & History Museum Finds Inspiration in Quilts

Windham Textile & History Museum Finds Inspiration in Quilts

Detail of "Honey Bee," by Kate Themel, 2014.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Windham Textile & History Museum welcomes Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now, which opens on May 16 and runs through Sept. 7.

The exhibition features beautiful antique quilts from the museum’s collection and stunning contemporary art quilts. “We went to twelve quilt artists and asked them each to choose a quilt from the collection for inspiration to create a new quilt,” says Michele Palmer, one of the exhibition’s organizers. “Visitors will be able to see the results as the quilts will be shown in pairs.”

Some of the quilts in the museum’s collection date back as far as the 1840s, ranging to others coming from the early part of the 20th century; one Civil War-era quilt was actually hidden during the hostilities to protect it. At the other end of the spectrum, one of the new quilts is painted with artwork that’s only visible when exposed to ultraviolet light.

The exhibition also includes works from local quilters and the Connecticut chapter of Studio Art Quilt Associates, who have composed a special anniversary group quilt with 25 individual blocks. Local quilters have also been invited to contribute postcard-sized quilts that will be used to help raise funds for the museum.

Themel's full "Honey Bee" quilt.

The project initially began in 2012, according to Palmer. “We did an exhibit five years ago for the museum’s 20th anniversary called ‘Celebration Quilts,’” she says. “Quilts are often used to celebrate events, such as a marriage or birth, so it seemed like the perfect idea for the museum’s 25th anniversary.”

An opening reception is slated for May 24, with many of the quilt artists scheduled to be on hand, such as Barbara Barber, Rita Hannafin, Alice Means and Kate Themel. Other events will accompany the exhibition over the course of its run, including kids’ programs and quilting demonstrations. 

For more info, call (860) 456-2178 or visit


Windham Textile & History Museum Finds Inspiration in Quilts

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