Handstitched Worlds 2

Handstitched Worlds

The Cartography of Quilts
  • Dates:
    Sep 17 - Jan 23 2022
  • Ages:
    All ages
  • Where:
    Fifth floor
  • Tickets:

    Included with general admission. Purchase in the museum or online.

  • Accessibility:

    The History Museum has elevators and ramps. Wheelchairs are available on-site.

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts
Sept 17, 2021 – Jan 23, 2022
A traveling exhibition from the American Folk Art Museum in New York, NY

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Looking across city blocks and quilt blocks, roadways and seams, one can see a visible kinship between quilt making and cartography. Both are built upon established systems that use color, pattern, and symbols to create whole compositions from a network of interlocked parts. Quilts and maps are also infused with history and memory—similarly living records of traditions, experiences, relationships, beliefs, and future aspirations. What can be gleaned from a bit of patchwork cut from a wedding dress, castoff feed sack, or commemorative flag? How are personal, political, cultural, and spiritual ideals inscribed onto a quilt’s surface, creating a network of roadways and landmarks that illustrate the quilt maker’s world and his or her place within it?

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts is an invitation to read quilts as maps, tracing the paths of individual stories and experiences that illuminate larger historic events and cultural trends. Spanning the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, the exhibition brings together a collection of quilts from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum that represents a range of materials, motifs, and techniques—from traditional early-American quilts to more contemporary sculptural assemblage.

Exhibition curator: Sarah Margolis-Pineo, assistant curator, Self-Taught Genius Gallery, American Folk Art Museum.

Image credit: Artist Unknown (Virginia), Map Quilt, 1886, Silk and cotton velvets and brocade with embroidery, Image Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. C. David McLaughlin, Photo by Schecter Lee. Image courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.


This exhibition is generously supported by Humanities Washington and The Norcliffe Foundation.

International Arts and Artists logoAmerican Folk Art Museum logo

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts was originated by the American Folk Art Museum, New York, and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington D.C.