“The County Quilting Bees: Creating Communities Since 1850 Special Exhibit” is now open through Sept. 13 at the Museum of Fulton County.
Guests will learn about the role of quilting in building, growing, and maintaining the bonds of community in this new exhibit. It features over two dozen quilts, all made in Fulton County, from the pre-Civil War period through the 1990s. and demonstrates how quilts evolved and changed as they went from household necessity to a form of protest to a community project over a 150-year period.
“We are really proud to share this hidden part of our shared past” said John Swearingen Jr., museum director. “Most history is told through the lens of a strong leader, and most women’s contributions are left out. Quilts served many purposes in causes ranging from abolition to women’s suffrage. We are excited to present the story of women’s soft power in this fun and informative exhibit.”
During the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, the museum remembers those Fulton County women who humbly worked for causes through quilt fundraisers and those that boldly, but secretly, fought for women’s rights. The Museum of Fulton County began the work for this exhibit over a year ago with painstaking stabilization of the quilts in its collection.
Beginning with a full inventory of quilts including their current condition and state of preservation, the collections team went to work. They provided each quilt with an additional backing to protect the integrity of the original material, then took a delicate fabric mesh and sewed it onto deteriorating sections of the quilts in order to take the stress off of those pieces.
Some of the quilts had pieces that were too far gone, and matching fabric was created to restore these pieces to their original appearance.
As a fundraiser for this restoration work, the Museum of Fulton County created its own quilting project. The collection included an unfinished quilt top from the 1930s. Inviting community members to participate, the quilt was finished and is now being raffled.
The drawing will take place on Oct. 10. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Museum of Fulton County, 8848 State Hwy. 108, or Freedom Bound Quilt Company, 1050 N. Shoop Ave., both in Wauseon.