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Going West! Quilts and Community

October 5, 2007 – January 21, 2008

Renwick Gallery
17th and Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Location: Special Exhibition Gallery, 1st Floor

This exhibition reveals the essential role that quilts and quilt making played in the lives of women on the frontier and the extraordinary creativity of the individuals who made them. On view from 37 lenders in Nebraska are more than 50 quilts dating from the first quarter of the 1800s to the 1930s. The quilts include the familiar log cabin and lone star patterns, variations of the fan and wagon wheel, crazy quilts, doll and children's quilts, and community signature works. Before heading for a new life in the Nebraska Territory, pioneers almost always packed quilts with their necessities. These quilts served an important purpose along the journey -- whether used as sturdy domestic bedding along the trail or packed tenderly in the trunk as a tie to all that had been left behind. The Great Platte River Road, which cut through Nebraska, was the principal route for America's western expansion as early as the 1830s.